With peer nutrition counseling as a free service for CSUN students, and personally not knowing very much about nutrition, I decided to make an appointment with the CSUN Klotz Student Health Center.
At first, picking up a telephone just to go through an automated list of options before finally being able to speak to an actual human seemed tedious. Once that was done, things got simpler.
I met with Dalia Liva, a peer nutrition counselor at the Living Well Lounge across from the Fitness Center.
She took me into a small room where the walls were painted deep blue with matching furniture to create a relaxing atmosphere. Liva began the session by asking me my reasons for being there. I told her that I just want to learn how to eat healthier.
Liva asked for my daily meal routines. After finding out that I don’t eat breakfast she gave me some suggestions. She recommended preparing my food the night before so even if I’m in a hurry in the morning I could still have something to eat.
I told her some of my other eating habits and she provided ideas for some alternatives. When I told her I was a big fan of soda, she suggested substituting it with tea.
Liva kept a binder on hand during our session and pulled out pamphlets on calorie content for food services on campus as well as forms on portion control.
After our meeting, I was required to schedule a follow up appointment for the next week. When I returned to the Living Well Lounge, I met with a different counselor.
The new counselor began our session with asking me what I did the week before. I was surprised to find out that counselors don’t record what happens during the first meeting. This made me think, how can they chart your progress if you’re meeting with a different counselor who has no idea all of the things you discussed the week before?
After I gave the counselor a summary of what I discussed the previous week, I found myself asking as many questions as I could to avoid the spaces of silence during the session.
While the peer nutrition counselors are very knowledgeable about their field, my experience, although a very pleasant one, seemed a bit too basic. Maybe I knew a lot more about nutrition than I thought, or maybe the process of meeting with a counselor needs to be modified where there’s more complex guidance for students on their way to healthy living.
Klotz Student Health Center hours: Monday-Wednesday: 7:30am-5:30pm Thursday: 9:00am-5:30pm Friday: 7:30am-4:00pm urgent care only. The Health Center is also open during Winter and Summer breaks. Call (818) 677-3666 for hours. or visit their website: www.csun.edu/studenthealthcenter