By Akshay Somana & Zohaeb Atiq
For this week’s On Campus Discussion, Zohaeb Atiq and I asked the NJIT population about CCAPS, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, which is a service available to all students and faculty of NJIT.
It seemed appropriate to ask a question about CCAPS after the tragic death of fellow student Albert Roman. The questioned people were divided into two groups: those who had heard of CCAPS previously, and those who had not.
The questions we asked students that heard about CCAPS, were: “Do you know what CCAPS is? Where or who did you hear about CCAPS from? What do you think they could do to raise awareness?
Other the other hand, if students had not heard of CCAPS before, we gave the student or students a general idea of its purpose, after which we questioned them and got their opinions.
The first student we asked was a senior double-majoring in Biology and Chemistry, Robert Canuel Jr. He had quite some knowledge about CCAPS, even though he had never utilized their services.
Robert said, “I came to NJIT for open house, and CCAPS had a little presentation to show people that they exist and are there for us.” He says CCAPS consists of therapists who help students with issues involving friends, relationships, and other difficult problems.
Robert also knew that C-CAPS were located in Colton Hall. For all of those who do not know, Colton Hall is located on the Central King Building side, next to Campbell Hall.
The next student we questioned was Likun, a student who graduated from NJIT with a master’s in Environmental Engineering, and is currently working at NJIT. Likun did not know what CCAPS was until we asked.
He said, “I think that it is good. It’s very kind.” Due to not knowing what CCAPS was before we spoke, he said that they should promote awareness to help people in need.
Zohaeb and I went on to speak with five students pursuing their master’s degrees: Hemanth Kumar, Rakesh Mohan, Bhareth Kumar Raja, Surya Ganesh Rajasekar, and Pravin Donatus. Hemanth and Surya are studying Industrial Engineering. Rakesh, Bhareth, and Pravin are studying Manufacturing Systems Engineering. All five of them had never heard of CCAPS before.
Their opinions were similar to the others. “CCAPS is good for people who are emotionally affected,” they unanimously agreed.
Then they elaborated on an emotional level and mentioned that everyone needs someone to talk to. As they say, “Everyone needs someone to talk with and open up to with their emotions and feelings. It is a stress reliever.”
After being asked what CCAPS can do to raise awareness about its services that the students had been unaware of, the five students proposed various ideas, such as advertising by putting up flyers and banners around campus, tabling in the campus center, and sending out frequent emails.
Zach Banks, a freshman studying Mechanical Engineering Technology, was next on the list. Zach had heard about CCAPS from advisers before, and had also read about it online, unlike the previous students who were previously uninformed of such services. When asked about CCAPS’ services, Zach says, “They probably help students with problems.”
Mike Cortese is a transfer student in his senior year studying Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology. He says, “It is good they offer counseling, so when people get stressed they have someone to talk to with professional experience.” Similar to many other students, he also was not aware that NJIT had these counseling services.
When asked about how CCAPS could become more visible on campus, he referred to the NJIT health emails that get sent out frequently. He says, “CCAPS can send out emails, or post in the health emails, or even [include a notice] at the end of the health emails.”
A freshman studying Information Technology, Sheel Patel, also did not know or hear about CCAPS. He states, “It is a pretty good idea, as NJIT is a community. It will help students.” As a fairly new student at NJIT, he recently participated in first-year orientation and open house. Yet when questioned if he had been informed about these counseling services at either open house or orientation, he responded, “No.”
This next student, Nikita Tomlinson, who is a junior studying Electrical Engineering, knew an interesting fact about counseling services. She said, “It is usually standard that most universities have counseling services, and it is convenient.” She did not know that CCAPS is the name of the counseling services provided at NJIT, and also did not know where exactly it was located.
Angelica McKenzie, a junior studying Interior Design, is the only student we spoke with that had been to CCAPS. She told us that she had been to two sessions.
“I think they are very understanding. They listen to you, and they let you do the talking,” she said. “As you do the talking, it gives you a chance to figure out your own problems. Some people don’t want to be involved with any therapy because they think that therapy is only for the mentally unstable or suicidal. Therapy can be for just you talking to someone.”
“I wouldn’t have found out about CCAPS if it weren’t for my sister, Crystal, who suggested that all universities should have a psychological department that gives students a safe place.” Angelica went on to say that after going to CCAPS, her family told her that she had become more open.
The types of people questioned ranged from freshmen newcomers to students who had graduated and are working, providing diverse insight into the presence of CCAPS on campus.
I hope you learned something new, as I sure did. Personally all I have to say is this: Please do not hold back. Open up to someone if you are feeling blue, especially when there is professional help being offered by the university. Make use of it.