Narrator: Listen to a conversation between a student and a counselor at the University Counseling Center.
Student: Hi, thanks for seeing me on such short notice.
Counselor: No problem. How can I help?
Student: Well, I think I might have made a mistake coming to the school.
Counselor: What makes you say that?
Student: I’m a little overwhelmed by the size of this place. I come from a small town. There were only 75 of us in my high school graduating class.Everyone knew everyone. We all grew up together.
Counselor: So it’s a bit of a culture shock for you? Being one of 15,000 students on a big campus in an unfamiliar city?
Student: That’s an understatement. I just can’t get comfortable in class or in the dorms. You know, socially.
Counselor: Ummm…well, let’s start with your academics. Tell me about your classes.
Student: I’m taking mostly introductory courses and some are taught in these huge lecture halls.
Counselor: And you are having trouble in keeping pace with the material?
Student: No, in fact I got an A on my first economics paper. It’s just that, it’s so impersonal, I’m not used to it.
Counselor: Are all your classes impersonal?
Student: No, it’s just that…for example, in sociology yesterday, the professor asked a question, so I raised my hand, several of us raised our hands. And I kept my hand up because I did the reading and knew the answer. But the professor just answered his own question and continued with the lecture.
Counselor: Well, in a big room it’s possible he didn’t notice you. Maybe he was trying to save time. In either case I wouldn’t take it personally.
Student: I suppose. But I just don’t know how to, you know, distinguish myself.
Counselor: Why not stop by his office during office hours?
Student: That wouldn’t seem right. You know, taking time from other students who need help?
Counselor: Don’t say that. That’s what office hours are for. There is no reason you couldn’t pop in to say hi and to make yourself known. If you are learning a lot in class, let the professor know. Wouldn’t you appreciate positive feedback if you were a professor?
Student: You are right. That’s a good idea.
Counselor: OK, er…let’s turn to your social life. How’s it going in the dorms?
Student: I don’t have much in common with my roommate or anyone else I’ve met so far. Everyone’s into sports and I’m more artsy, you know, into music. I play the cello.
Counselor: Hah, have you been playing long?
Student: Since age ten. It’s a big part of my life. At home I was the youngest member of our community orchestra.
Counselor: You are not going to believe this. There is a string quartet on campus, all students. And it so happened that the cellist graduated last year. They’ve been searching high and low for a replacement, someone with experience. Would you be interested in auditioning?
Student: Absolutely. I wanted to get my academic work settled before pursuing my music here. But I think this would be a good thing for me. I guess if I really want to fit in here I should find people who love music as much as I do. Thank you.
Counselor: My pleasure.