Now that the campus is deserted and people are being advised against face-to-face contact, the student psychologists are lending an ear online.
‘There has been a lot of uncertainty about the situation in the past few weeks,’ says student welfare manager Door van der Sloot. ‘We can imagine it might be good to have someone to talk to about your worries or loneliness. These are difficult times for foreign students too, so far from their families.’
Normally there is a walk-in surgery every day in the Forum for such brief consultations but that has been cancelled for now due to the coronavirus measures. The idea is to have a virtual walk-in surgery instead. Van der Sloot: ‘All the student psychologists are working from home at the moment, using Skype or the phone. We are doing our regular appointments remotely as well.’
Students who feel the need for a short talk can send an email to Studentpsychologists@wur.nl. Van der Sloot: ‘Put “Short consultation” in the subject line. We will then try to call you back the same day.’
There has not been a huge demand for the online walk-in consultation as yet. In fact, there have been fewer requests than normal for psychological support anyway in the past week. ‘I can imagine some students are not keen on talking online,’ says Van der Sloot. ‘I also heard from a few students that they actually find this situation calming as they have fewer commitments. That is a positive aspect to this situation. We shall have to see whether that remains the case over the next few weeks.’
The team of student psychologists is currently investigating whether the group training sessions, for example on procrastination and fear of failure, can be held online.