University life can be fun and fulfilling, providing the students various opportunities to acquire new skills and knowledge, develop their character. This is an important milestone before they join the workforce and launch their career. However, adjusting to a new environment away from home and managing academic and personal demands may induce high levels of stress and anxiety. Confiding in family or friends is a good coping strategy but if the issues being faced by a student persist over a long period of time, it may be imperative to seek professional help. IIT-Indore has a Student Counselling Centre in place that offers supportive and conducive environment for a student wherein he/she can discuss personal issues or academic challenges and seek help from a professional counsellor. The counsellor Ms. Monika Gupta (M.Phil, Clinical Psychology, NIMHANS, and Bangalore) is available to provide help and support for students from diverse religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The role of a counsellor is to offer support to the students to deal with a wide range of concerns -be it academic, personal, emotional, family or peer related. Counsellor meets students and their parents as and when needed. Parents and teachers can also approach counsellor over issues pertaining to a young person in their care. With the support of the students, parents, other departments and services at IIT Indore, counselling center has been able to effectively meet the needs of students and wishes to continue working for the same. To make an appointment with the counsellor, please contact Ms. Monika Gupta at 07324-306511 (O) or counsellor[at]iiti.ac.in (Email). Useful link
The Counselling center is involved in student life at the campus through different levels of interactive processes that are all over seen and directed by the counsellor herself.
The Counselling center’s mental health activities focus on early Identification & intervention, as well as prevention of mental health problems of students. Individual counselling sessions are conducted by the counsellor for the students who seek help on their own or are referred. The referrals usually come from Institute Medical officers, and Academic office .The volunteers and Gymkhana members also share mental health concerns of their peers with the counsellor.
For new students and parents the orientation programme itself is the time where the counselling center is introduced and its various functions highlighted by the counsellor. Counsellor herself observes and interacts with new students in the institute and hostel campus in formal and informal settings by visiting them during their labs, tutorials, free slots etc.
The student volunteers of the center and student Gymkhana members also help freshers by extending their helping hand both for academic and non-academic concerns. The center facilitates the peer tutoring classes where students help and each other with academic difficulties in topics.
Counselling is a helping process which aims to facilitate the process of growth and well being. It empowers students with enhanced ability to solve problems, make decisions and deal more effectively with their concerns. Some of the common concerns of this young people today are-
Academic pressures (Lack of concentration and motivation for studies, underachievement, backlogs, exam stress, unhealthy competition)
Depression ,anxiety and other mental health problems)
Counselling helps a student to alleviate distress and enhance wellness. The process entails building the young person’s confidence towards using effective coping strategies. This facilitates adjustment, personality development and growth. Counsellor, through the counselling process, listens to a student’s concerns with empathy and responds in a non judgemental way. The process is confidential except in a condition where disclosure is necessary to protects the student, another person or abide by the institute’s policy.
It is natural for parents to feel anxious and concerned when their wards leave home for education. Young people, though away from home, still require parents’ continuous involvement, guidance and monitoring. Parents need to be aware of their wards’ overall functioning both academic and non-academic. It is also advisable for parents to seek feedback from the faculty advisors, teachers and/or counsellor. Parents can approach the counsellor for concerns related to their wards. Parents’ feedback to the counsellor facilitates the counselling process and enables the parents and counsellor to work together to optimize the potential of the young person.
The best performance of a student is usually achieved when the student is not only hard working, sincere and determined to do well but also maintains good physical and psychological health. Numerous factors such as time management, financial problems, family problems, and peer related issues, emotional problems and perceived stress can create obstacles for young people in achieving optimal academic performance. The Faculty advisors or concerned faculty members can refer a student to the Counsellor in case of the following- a) A student is feeling stressed out due to academic , personal, family or any other reasons b) A student is showing signs of emotional or psychological distress Faculty members can play an extremely important role in encouraging the students to seek help when needed. The counselling process is a valuable aid .It facilitates growth and well being. Faculty members’ positive attitude can reduce the stigma related with counselling services. This in turn will help create an environment of flexibility and openness for the students.
When is counselling relevant for me as a student? Student life is full of challenges. Mostly we are able to cope with these as we go along. Sometimes however we may find that our academics, friends of family are posing odds that we find too complex to deal with creating emotional imbalances and stress. This may be the time when counselling sessions may prove useful and relevant in helping us find solutions to our problems.
What kind of help can a student expect from a counsellor? A counsellor is a sounding board, a confidant and an expert at emotional and circumstantial problem solving. Whether a problem comes suddenly as a crises or has been present for a long time, it can be looked into and helped. The counsellor builds a supportive environment and slowly helps a person build inner resources that enable effective coping.
Is sharing with a friend the same as sharing with a counsellor? Sharing with friends is both useful and natural. Sometimes sharing is enough and helps automatically. However if after repeated sharing one still feels overwhelmed with one's problems counselling may be a better alternative to seek.
Is going to a counsellor a sign of weakness or insanity?
Absolutely not. We all need help time and again so that we can be happy and well adjusted. A counsellor functions with this understanding and it helps if the counselee sees the process as normal and useful too. Unnecessary fears and stigma is a sign of lack of information about the counselling process and are best ignored..
Dr. Pavan Kumar Kankar
Head of Counselling Services email: pkankar [at] iiti.ac.in