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The Student Counseling Center: Share Your Problems and Find a Healing
Jung Myoung-jun  |  jmj9999@uos.ac.kr
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[144호] 승인 2017.09.19  
트위터 페이스북 네이버 구글

Nowadays, many Koreans have great difficulty in expressing their troubles. Because of a social atmosphere that forces people to endure their pains by themselves, a lot of people have festering wounds in their hearts and these wounds lead to a decline in self-esteem and a rise in depression. In this ambience, University students face significant problems during their school lives. They have troubles in personal relations, study, career preparation, and personality. However, they can not speak about these problems to people around them. They think that “if I speak to them about my private troubles, I may be considered a ‘weak person’ and be ignored by them.”

So, the Student Counseling Center on the second floor of the Student Hall was established to help students solve their problems and adapt to their school lives. There are many counselors on staff, and they are doing a lot of work. To know more about the center and the participation of students, The UOS Times interviewed one of these counselors of the Student Counseling Center, Kim Sang-soo.

The Work of the Student Counseling Center

During our interview, Kim explained that the Student Counseling Center provides two types of counseling; individual and group. Individual counseling is one-to-one counseling, and it is done for 50 minutes once a week. It proceeds for twelve sessions in one semester. Group counselling is one-to-multi counseling for applicants who want to solve their problems by forming a sympathetic bond.
Also, they conduct various campaigns for students. Last year, for example, they launched a mental health campaign. This campaign was to write encouraging massages on paper and put the paper into a box. Then, each of the other students drew one random paper and felt cheered by the written messages. In addition to these activities, the center provides psychological assessment such as the SCT, MBTI, and HOLLAND.

The Participation of UOS students

Kim said that many students visit the center. According to a 2016 survey, 58 percent of all UOS students visited the Student Counseling Center for various problems. Kim cited emotional instability as the highest most common reason for visiting the center.

The range of issues and problems is wide. For example, each semester many freshmen feel depressed and visit the Student Counseling Center. During high school, there is at concept of “class” which makes each student feel connected. However, in university, the concept of class becomes blurred, and each student has their own schedule and enjoys their school life much individually. Thus, they have difficulties adapting to the new social environment of the university. At the other end of the university experience, some soon-to-be-graduating seniors who have anxiety about finding a job and fitting in at a company also visit the center.

Personal relationships lead the second highest percentage of students to visit the center. Some students do not have intimate friends to share their feelings and have trouble with the seniors and juniors in the departments where they are majoring. The third most common reason is family relationships. In addition to these reasons, students visit the center because of personality issues, romantic relationship, and physical disability.

Solution to the students’ Problems

Kim explained, “We first sympathize with the problems of students and then analyze the causes of these problems. Finally, we suggest various solutions to students. In this process, sympathizing with the problems of students is most important, because what students most want from the counselor is to receive a consolation and confirmation that their problems are not strange and are not by their faults.”

Also, Kim also said that the counselling center focuses not only on solving these problems, but also on the mental growth of students. Whenever students come for twelve sessions of individual counseling, they try to find better solutions each week and receive feedback from a counselor. In doing so, they gradually grow spiritually, although they do not solve the problem at once. Furthermore, they often solve other subsidiary problems thanks to these finding-a-solution training.

Difficulties of the Student Counseling Center

Despite its successes and the range of its services, the Student Counseling Center lacks experienced professional manpower in specialized fields. Kim said, “Although we are also taking job of the Gender Equality and Disability Support, we do not have any experts in these fields. Our staffs are all counseling specialists. It is hard for us to cover all these fields.”

This situation places an excessive workload on the counselors. In addition, it is impossible to make proper programs for preventing sexual harassment and for improving the awareness of disability. “For these reasons, if sexual harassment happens at school, victim(s) of sexual harassment may complain about unsatisfactory countermeasures, and attacker(s) may also complain about insufficient education for sexual harassment,” Kim said.

A Word to the UOS students

Kim advised UOS students to come visit the center when experiencing any problems in school life. “The pain you are suffering now is the most serious problem to you,” he said. “Although this pain seems small to others, it is significant to you. Therefore, come to Student Counseling Center without hesitation and share your troubles with us.” Furthermore, he asked for our help. “If you look around, there are many people who need your help. So, you can also become a counselor dealing with the problems of those who suffer. Please listen to their problems and sympathize with their pains.”

The Participation of UOS students

Kim said that many students visit the center. According to a 2016 survey, 58 percent of all UOS students visited the Student Counseling Center for various problems. Kim cited emotional instability as the highest most common reason for visiting the center.

The range of issues and problems is wide. For example, each semester many freshmen feel depressed and visit the Student Counseling Center. During high school, there is at concept of “class” which makes each student feel connected. However, in university, the concept of class becomes blurred, and each student has their own schedule and enjoys their school life much individually. Thus, they have difficulties adapting to the new social environment of the university. At the other end of the university experience, some soon-to-be-graduating seniors who have anxiety about finding a job and fitting in at a company also visit the center.

Personal relationships lead the second highest percentage of students to visit the center. Some students do not have intimate friends to share their feelings and have trouble with the seniors and juniors in the departments where they are majoring. The third most common reason is family relationships. In addition to these reasons, students visit the center because of personality issues, romantic relationship, and physical disability.

Solution to the students’ Problems

Kim explained, “We first sympathize with the problems of students and then analyze the causes of these problems. Finally, we suggest various solutions to students. In this process, sympathizing with the problems of students is most important, because what students most want from the counselor is to receive a consolation and confirmation that their problems are not strange and are not by their faults.”

Also, Kim also said that the counselling center focuses not only on solving these problems, but also on the mental growth of students. Whenever students come for twelve sessions of individual counseling, they try to find better solutions each week and receive feedback from a counselor. In doing so, they gradually grow spiritually, although they do not solve the problem at once. Furthermore, they often solve other subsidiary problems thanks to these finding-a-solution training.

Difficulties of the Student Counseling Center

Despite its successes and the range of its services, the Student Counseling Center lacks experienced professional manpower in specialized fields. Kim said, “Although we are also taking job of the Gender Equality and Disability Support, we do not have any experts in these fields. Our staffs are all counseling specialists. It is hard for us to cover all these fields.”

This situation places an excessive workload on the counselors. In addition, it is impossible to make proper programs for preventing sexual harassment and for improving the awareness of disability. “For these reasons, if sexual harassment happens at school, victim(s) of sexual harassment may complain about unsatisfactory countermeasures, and attacker(s) may also complain about insufficient education for sexual harassment,” Kim said.

A Word to the UOS students

Kim advised UOS students to come visit the center when experiencing any problems in school life. “The pain you are suffering now is the most serious problem to you,” he said. “Although this pain seems small to others, it is significant to you. Therefore, come to Student Counseling Center without hesitation and share your troubles with us.” Furthermore, he asked for our help. “If you look around, there are many people who need your help. So, you can also become a counselor dealing with the problems of those who suffer. Please listen to their problems and sympathize with their pains.”

Sa-rang Jang-hak (The Love Scholarship): The Student Counseling Center provides a financial assistance for students facing significant difficulties in the form of the Love Scholarship. Unlike most scholarships, this one does not require any conditions such as GPA or family background. It is a scholarship for students who have a strong will to study consistently in spite of unexpected difficulties, such as a sudden deterioration of family circumstances. The center is accepting applications online. If you are interested in this scholarship, apply now.


Jung Myoung-jun
jmj9999@uos.ac.kr

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