Student Counselling Program
Jun 23, 2017 | Team MM
Out of the many plans Prof.Animesh Biswas had for the institute, the one that topped his list was the establishment of a proper Student Counselling Program in NITR. With the increasing levels of stress that students have begun to experience, it has become necessary to have the presence of a Counselling Cell at the institutional, educational and industrial levels. In regard of this view, NIT-R had conducted a seminar in mid-February about the importance of having a cell specially dedicated to counselling. The program was led by Professor Manas K. Ghorai, Person-In-Charge of the Counselling Services Cell at IIT Kanpur, who provided insights into the aspects of the system that exists at IIT-K and laid down its necessities.
The counselling cell in IIT Kanpur, follows a uniform hierarchy to ensure proper functioning of the system. In IIT-K, the day to day activities is headed by a faculty-in-charge under whom three-four professional counsellors work. These counsellors help the students tackle depression, emotional trauma, academic pressure or personal issues. To have proper student participation, there are 5 student coordinators each at the Undergraduate and the Postgraduate level. Around 100-120 mentors, who are mostly second and third year UG students, work alongside a few PG second year students under the canopy of the post holders and make sure the process is carried out smoothly at the grass root level. A similar structure is to be followed at NIT-R, wherein a roadmap is being laid for the effective functioning of the counselling program. Prof. K.C Pati, the faculty in charge is keen on having active participation from the students. Renowned counsellors have been approached and the next step is to have volunteers who are willing to participate in the program.
Role of mentors:
1. To guide the incoming batch and help familiarise them with the different aspects of a regular day at college. The neophytes need to understand the daily aspects of a student life at the institution. Coming from a place where their needs are fulfilled before demand, the students often find it difficult to adjust themselves to the demanding life at a hostel. This is not an easy transition and the mentors are expected to play a vital role in ensuring a smooth transition. The Mentor should ensure to the best of his/her ability that his/her mentees are able to adjust comfortably to life at NITR.
2. To protect the student against any form of abuse. Although ragging at NITR is not a major problem, isolated incidents cannot be ruled out. In these situations, mentors will be helpful as the mentees will be comfortable in opening up to a familiar face, which provides them with a sense of security. The institute has a strict tolerance against ragging in any form. In any such event, the mentor should bring the matter immediately to the notice of the authorities.
3. The mentors should assist the newbies overcome any problem (both social and academic) in an advisory role and guide them through their first year. However, effort should be made towards guiding the mentee to be self-reliant and independent and spoon-feeding should be completely avoided.
4. In case the mentees face any kind of psychological or emotional problems, the mentors should inform the counsellor or concerned faculty immediately.
1. You will receive a letter of appreciation from the institute signed by the Director highlighting your contribution for the institute. However, the above incentive will be strictly based on performance.
2. You will experience a development in your communication skills. The more attention you pay while listening, the more you develop yourself as a communicator. Listening skills develop only with practice and you can learn a lot during your journey as a mentor, ultimately helping you to sharpen your communication skills.
3. Mentoring is a lot about rapport building and ice breaking. Many students would be reticent towards opening up to seniors about any problem they might be facing. People often open up to individuals, whom they can trust to keep a secret, who cares about their welfare and is not likely to use the confided information against them. Thus to be a great mentor and a good human being these are the qualities you will need to inculcate. This is a great life-skill to have and you will find that having good rapport building skills will eventually reap many benefits to you during your career as well.
4. It may seem that as a mentor you are superior to the mentees as you are probably the one who is doing all the giving. However, upon investing some time and interest in your mentees you will discover their strengths and domains where they are more accomplished than you. Getting into the relationship as a mentor, with an open mind would not only be an enriching experience for the mentees but would also help you in learning something from the mentees. Putting your mentee at an equal footing, will give you an opportunity to grow with them in this relationship.
Impact on the Mentees
The freshmen will be the ones benefitting directly by this endeavour. Besides providing support academically, it will also grant them guidance in other fields. From advice in extra-curricular activities, like figuring out one’s area of interest among the myriad clubs of NITR, honing one’s skills in co-curricular domains, figuring out how to deal with peer pressure, to maintaining a healthy balance between work and leisure- this programme will cater to many other sections that play a vital role in shaping a student’s persona over the span of college life. Yet another important factor that it’ll provide aid to is breaking the ice between the newbies and their seniors, while curbing ragging and providing a productive manner of interaction.
The Selection Procedure:
The mentors and coordinators for the SCP will be selected through a formal induction procedure. A group mail will be sent to all the students inviting applications for the role of mentors and the applicants will have to fill the responses to a given questionnaire. Along with the applicant’s credentials, the responses will be used to shortlist around 100 students for the program.
All the selected mentors will be eligible to apply for the post of the coordinators, irrespective of their year of study. Once the institute reopens, the interested mentors will be invited to apply for the post of coordinators. The applicants will be interviewed by a panel of students, who served as a mentor of the SMP for the session 2016-17. The selection of coordinators will be solely based on the performance in the interview.
A number of students have confused the Student Counselling Program, with the Student Mentorship Program which had been initiated last year. While the Student Mentorship Program at NIT-R (similar to the one at IIT-B) targeted more towards guiding students in both academic as well as non-academic related fields, the SCP also deals with the emotional and mental health of its students. Moreover, the SCP comprises of a multi-tier system which ensures that there is a levelled interaction between various natured students. The SMP at NIT-R on the other hand, which is still in its infant stages, functions primarily as a medium for the freshmen called the 'Mentees' to express their concerns before a group of experienced student 'Mentors'. Professional help or active intervention of faculties does not form a major pillar here. Counselling ensures that the students have someone they can talk to about any problem that they’re facing, fearlessly. Even though it doesn't solve all the problems, it provides a path for you to understand the issue yourself and solve it. Team MM appreciates the effort of the administration in carrying out the noble initiative and hopes that more and more students enrol themselves for the program and make it successful.
Note: The last date for applying for the role of a mentor is over.