Peer Counseling Relieves Stress
Our lives are fairly hectic at this point in time. The pressures of school, work, living arrangements, relationships and unanticipated personal problems are enough to seriously challenge the balance that is needed to be a successful college graduate.
Students must cope with these problems in order to succeed in their academic achievements and enjoy their time in college.
The UCI Counseling Center has many resources available to help students get through tough times. A group of concerned students are working to provide support for the student body by implementing preventative measures to help students recognize and cope with their problems.
The Peer Educator program at UCI is working to make life easier for students by providing a support group for the campus community. The purpose of the program is to expand the UCI Counseling Center’s consultation and outreach efforts.
The program trains students to provide, as Peer Educators, psycho-educational services to the UCI student body. You may be asking yourself what this strange term means. Psycho-educational services consist of workshops which include topics such as assertion training, stress management, time management, test anxiety, communication skills and relationship skills.
Anshu Agarwal, a Peer Educator and a fourth-year psychology major, believes that the program serves a very useful purpose.
‘A lot of times students get into situations where they have a lot of anxiety such as stress, or they’re having issues with their roommates, personal issues or family issues and maybe need to see a psychologist,’ Agarwal said. ‘Our job is to help students prevent these problems before they happen. We go out to campus organizations, fraternities, sororities, clubs and basically any place that requests our service. We give workshops on how to deal with stress, conflicts, how to handle eating disorders or any other issue that may affect students.’
Peer Educators host workshops using a variety of teaching formats to accomplish educational objectives. The goal of the program is to establish a stimulating learning environment in which audience members can acquire practical, helpful skills.
According to Ken Calliet,
peer education coordinator,
the program is dynamic and
has many changes in store for the future.
‘We attempt to meet the new and differing needs of the UCI student population in a proactive, innovative style,’ Calliet said.
Peer Educators are trained in college student development, counseling and communication skills, public speaking, group facilitation skills, workshop planning/delivery, outreach and consultation skills.
According to Ana Zdravkovic, a peer educator and third-year psychology and social behavior major, it’s easy for students to get involved with the Peer Educator program.
‘There is an application online and at the Counseling Center. Tuesdays and Wednesdays we are out on Ring Road and students who are interested can come and talk to us then. The applications are due the beginning of spring quarter. Once the student fills out an application there is an interview process. After that, the peer educators will be selected for next fall,’ Zdravkovic said.
If you are interested in participating in the program or attending a workshop, visit the counseling center Web site at www.counseling.uci.edu.