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Volume 79

Wednesday Forum gives students chance to learn appropriate helping behaviors

Published (Volume 79, No. 10)


Jennifer Levy

UTM’s Wednesday Forums, which are “lunch and learn” programs on a variety of relevant social topics for students, are a growing success on campus.

Starting out as an unknown event on campus, the Wednesday Forums have become well known and heavily attended. The forums are a service offered by UTM’s Counseling and Career Services office, directed by Dr. Jennifer Y. Levy.

The most recent Wednesday forum was held on Nov. 1 and covered “Healthy Helping Behavior: How to help your friends without letting them drive you nuts.” The interaction among the 15 or so students present about different helping habits and behaviors seemed to be a great learning experience for all involved. Although Levy lectured on 11 different points, the bulk of the discussion involved the students’ interaction with each other and with Levy.

Levy’s talking points included: polishing your listening skills; trying not to judge; resisting the urge to say, “I know exactly how you feel;” don’t get pulled into the panic; prepare yourself; keep your mouth shut; define the helping relationship clearly; be fair to yourself; know when you are in over your head; give the help that is needed; and take care of yourself.

The last point of the speech was truly Levy’s primary point.

“If you can’t take care of yourself and do what you want to do, then how are you going to help take care of others? Focus on yourself first,” Levy said.

She also stressed that if you are in over your head, you need to know how to contact professional services such as those offered at the Counseling and Career Services center, located on the second floor of the UC.

Lectures such as this one are a service to educate students on topics that are vital to survival in life, Levy said, especially in teaching the types of skills that are not taught in a regular classroom.

The next Wednesday Forum will be held at 12:15 p.m. Nov. 15 in the back of the cafeteria. The topic will be “Alcohol Can Kill:  Learning About Alcohol Poisoning.” Students will learn when to let someone “sleep it off” and when that might be fatal.

For more information about Counseling and Career Services and the services available to students, visit the department’s Web site at www.utm.edu/departments/counseling/.