Chapter 9: Listening Ears & Helpful Hands

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Your Junior Advisors (JAs), of course, will probably be two of the first people you talk to when you need help with something – and that’s great, because that’s what their role is! But sometimes you’ll need some help from someone other than your JAs. Here are some pointers on where to go and who to connect with.


The Student Health Center (Hoxsey Street)

When you’re not feeing well or if you’d like to talk with a counselor about something that’s on your mind, the Student Health Center is a great place to go for support.

  • Counseling Services (413.597.2353) include individual and group therapy/counseling as well as medication consultation and outreach – including workshops. Appointments are required for all counseling services.
  • Medical Services (413.597.2206), including on-site medical practitioners for general medical services and consultation including orthopedic clinic and well-woman exams are available. Nutrition, health education and wellness, including travel health consultations are also available for students. There is an RN on duty 7 days/week during open hours. When the Student Health Center is closed, call the Center to access the physician or counselor on call.
  • Services are free but there may be a cost for lab tests or other referrals as necessary outside the Student Health Center. Appointments are highly recommended for medical services and will help your schedule by not having to wait for availability. You can usually get a same-day or next-day appointment for medical services.
  • If you need a medication, you can set up an account at the local Rite Aid Pharmacy. Your prescription, faxed from the Student Health Center, will normally be delivered by Rite Aid the following business day to the Center for your pick-up.
  • Transportation (413.597.4545) for scheduled healthcare appointments is provided free to charge by appointment only in the local area. Call to schedule transport.
  • Several student/faculty/staff groups are advised by the Student Health Center, including Peer Health, the Mental Health Committee, and Active Minds.

In addition to the Student Health Center, here’s a quick run-down of offices & people who are really good at lending a listening ear or a helpful hand:

The Dean’s Office (413.597.4171, Hopkins 2nd floor) – they’ll help you with personal & academic concerns.

The Chaplains’ Office (413.597.2483, Paresky 2nd floor) – the chaplains are awesome listeners and are happy to chat with you about anything, religious or not.

The Davis Center (413.597.3340, Jenness House, Morley Circle) – the staff advises the student groups that are part of the Minority Coalition (MinCo) and works closely with the students who are involved with those groups.

The Office of Student Life (413.597.4747, Paresky 2nd floor) – the staff manages student housing concerns, student organization involvement & leadership, student activities & programs/events, etc., the Jessica Park Mailroom, and we’re at Williams because we love working with students. Three of the best “Campus Moms” reside in OSL – Gail, Ellen, & Debby love to chat with students and provide a listening ear (or even a shoulder to cry on when necessary).

There are many more people around campus who are willing to sit & listen & talk with you. Be open to finding those connections with faculty, staff, and other students as you experience Williams.


When your concerns are more academic in nature, Williams has some great resources:

Faculty drop-in office hours – don’t be afraid to make use of those times, the faculty love to work with you!

The Dean’s Office (413.597.4171, Hopkins 2nd floor) – again, they’re here for anything academic or personal in nature for students.

The Registrar’s Office (413.597.4286, Hopkins 2nd floor) – they’ll help you with choosing classes, drop/add, etc.

Academic Resources (413.597.4672, Paresky 2nd floor & Hopkins 2nd floor) – they coordinate several services to help you improve you quantitative skills and/or writing skills (including the Writing Workshop in Sawyer Library and the Math & Science Resource Center in Schow 030B. They also provide disability support services.


Some advice from those who have come before you:

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“It can be kind of intimidating to talk in class at the beginning of the year. But your thoughts are completely valid and can bring you to some very interesting thinking once you open the dialogue. Keep a running list of ideas you have but didn’t get to share during class. Then, meet your professor during office hours to talk more about those thoughts. It will give you greater confidence in joining classroom discussion and help you get to know the professor all in one.” – Megan Siedman ’20
 
“The professors here are probably some of the nicest people I have ever met. I have yet to have a professor that it intimidating. Attending office hours is a godsend. They are willing to talk to you, even if the conversation has nothing to do with the class!” – Mauro Renteria ’19
 
“The Health Center’s Psych Services is an extremely valuable resource that provides a confidential, trained listener. Scheduling an appointment takes a simple phone call, and the meetings are extremely discrete and low-hassle. Whether or not you’re dealing with serious emotional problems or stress, or just want an objective listener to help untangle your thoughts, the counselors at the Health Center are a helpful and calming presence tucked away on the Williams campus.” – Lila Anderson ’18
 
“If you’re struggling in a class, go to office hours! Your professor won’t bite, they’re here to help you.” – Erikka Olson ’19
 
“Don’t underestimate your professors! If you are friendly, go to office hours, and form a relationship with them, they become some of your best resources!” – Stephanie Boulger ’18
 
“All the staff and faculty that I’ve encountered thus far are very chill. They don’t seem to think of you as some lesser being as an undergrad. They talk to you as a full-fledged human which, if you’re not used to it, is refreshing. They are also willing to actually help you. At a lot of schools it seems like they just give you the run-a-round with a lot of red-tape, etc. At Williams they’re more likely to go out of their way to help you and be extremely nice while doing it.” – Dorothy Gaby ’18
 
“The Deans are the “bestest” resource ever. They can make anything, and I mean anything, happen. Even if they can not help you directly, they will refer you personally to someone who can and will get the job done!” – Nana Ama Ofori Atta ’19
 
“Your JAs, EphVenture leaders, profs, entry mates, friends, dining hall staff are always there for you. It’s always comforting to know that everyone on campus looks out for each other. Whether it’s worrying about a class or friend issues with a professor or just making a connection with the dining hall members, people at Williams are always there to listen and care for you.” – Alexia Barandiaran ’19
 
“Whether you believe it or not, everyone here wants to help you succeed. Reach out to the staff and faculty – your custodians, dining hall workers, professors, counselors – and you’ll find a community of wonderful individuals who will go out of their way to help you make the best of your Williams experience.” – Angela Chan ’19