By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
“Did you know?” informs Douglas students about college services. If you’re part of a campus organization for students and want to raise awareness, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Douglas College offers counselling services that cover personal counselling, career counselling, and education counselling. While different, each serves the same purpose of offering help to students who seek it, whatever the inquiry might be. “The intention is that we are to be of help for students,” said coordinator Sandi Strate.
“For students it’s not a very comfortable place to be when you’re not doing well, and our job is to look at [what] that student can do and get from Douglas College what they came for.”
Strate explained that oftentimes, students can feel nervous when considering counselling for various reasons, ranging from insecurities (“Am I in the right program?” “Is this is the right time for me to be in school?”) to concerns over confidentiality.
In regard to education, Strate stated that while students can visit the counselling centre at any time, there are some situations in which the college will deem that a respective student needs counselling services. “There is a policy at the college where students are placed on academic probation when their cumulative grade point falls below 1.50, and when that happens … students are asked to come see us.”
“We also act as advocates for students when there’s been some kind of disagreement around a policy or sometimes it involves instructors or grade appeals,” said Strate.
Two different appeal processes exist at Douglas College, with Strate stating the policy on grade appeals is likely to change. “When there has been a disagreement about a grade, students would come … and we’d look at the situation.” This process involves going over the course outline, discussions with the instructor in question, and analyzing if a better grade was earned as a result. “Students have to have more than, ‘I don’t like my grade,’ there has to be some real grounds for a grade appeal.”
Plagiarism and cheating are also dealt with when students seek appeals at the college.
As for personal counselling, Strate stated, “We see students for all kinds of reasons, but … looking at things like anxiety and depression tend to be very big.” Strate added that issues such as anxiety and depression could come as a result of many causes. Whether the student has gone through a breakup, is struggling with their grades, or has experienced the death of a loved one, all are valid reasons to be experiencing distress and to seek counselling.
Strate also stated that counselling is important to seek out when anxiety issues arise, as they could be an “onset of some bigger mental health issues.” Many do not begin to experience strong signs of mental illness until they’ve entered their teens and 20s, and Strate added that the recurring pressures of school can often push undiagnosed students to their limit.
“Any time a student needs a listening ear, we encourage them to come talk to us sooner rather than later,” said Strate.
Counselling services are offered at the New Westminster campus in room 4600 and the David Lam campus in room A1050 every Monday to Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. and every Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The “support” section of the Douglas website also lists numerous emergency help lines for after-hours services.