Is The Counseling Department Actually That Bad?


Rachel Edelstein

Graphic of student meeting with counselor.

Charlotte Maxwell, Staff Writer

Many students at Santa Rosa Junior College feel their needs are not being met by the counseling department. I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences with counselors, but the department overall is not as bad as everyone says it is.

The mission statement of the counseling department at SRJC is “to provide counseling, instruction and services which assist individuals in attaining their educational, occupational and personal/life goals.”

The counselors are who I turn to when the internet can’t answer my questions. I see a counselor at least once a semester, including summer term. When I wanted to change my major five times, the counselors were there for me. They also taught me how to use and the degree audit feature in myCubby.

It’s important to recognize that one bad experience with a counselor, or three or four, doesn’t indicate incompetence of the entire department. There are counselors who are just here to do their job, but I tend to meet the counselors who go above and beyond to help the people who step into their office. If you’re looking for that kind of counselor, I recommend Geoff Navarro or Audrey Spall.

After waiting in the lobby of the counseling department for anywhere between 20 and 100 minutes, or after making an appointment days in advance, it’s fair to expect that you will be given an opportunity to ask your questions and have them answered.

If your needs are constantly not being met, maybe you’re looking for help in the wrong places.

Counseling services can help you with unofficial IGETC and GE certification, explore career and major options for you or inform you about career development courses.

I’ve cried in a counselor’s office because she inspired me and made me feel like I could do something extraordinary in the future. I’ve also cried after leaving a counselor’s office because she made me feel like a misunderstood idiot.

Obviously they can’t all be perfect. I’ve had a few unpleasant experiences with counselors who seem like they have already decided where the conversation is going before I start talking. Sometimes it seems like some think I am trying to challenge their authority by telling them what I want. They get defensive and impatient. To those counselors, I wish I could say this:

Counselors are obviously more knowledgeable than me. I know that. That’s why I came to ask for help. If I say something that is wrong, please don’t just tell me that I’m wrong. Please tell me why I am wrong and how I can be right.

Sure, the counselors have their flaws. People think it seems like they don’t want students to graduate, sometimes it seems like they try to rush students out of their office and sometimes one counselor will give advice that isn’t in line with another counselor’s advice. I think their hearts are in the right place, though.

Even though I’ve had some bad experiences with certain counselors, the department as a whole is good at helping students.