As a soon to be Humanities graduate (and an Arts person at heart), I can lay claim to only a rudimentary command of figures. Nevertheless as I stare at the Top 50 spreadsheet, detailing the scores of the worthy finalists, I cannot help but notice the rather staggering disparity between the top two. Everyone who vote ranked their top five choices. Their favourite received five points, their second four, and so forth. I note this trivia because it means that the relative significance of each received greater consideration than they would have otherwise. Number one on the list is Nightline with a score of 175. Number two is Charlie Leyland on 96. Both, to state the blindingly obvious, deal with student welfare.
Considering that the Top 50 is nominally a list of people who have made a significant contribution, it is especially cogent that students wanted to nominate Nightline. If asked I couldn’t recall the name of one member- it does not cultivate celebrity. They are not ‘campus legends’. I confess to some relief that the voting body had the sense to distinguish between supplying free sexual health provisions and an unbiased listening service over that of being tagged in the most debauched photos on facebook.
The doctor didn’t believe she had a problem, despite the conspicious scars
I’ve heard mixed reviews of Nightline. However its merit is thrown into favourable perspective when compared to professional services. As an insomniac patron of the University Health Centre, I have frequently found myself attempting to condense the reasons why I find it difficult to sleep to fit the thirty seconds of patient-doctor time. Should I mention stress, rather than take a glance at my file (veritably bursting with causes), I am asked with an air of scepticism why I ‘think’ I am stressed, thus forced to gallop business-style through highly personal and painful events under the bored gaze of the doctor in question. I am offered no advice, and in a bid to salvage some degree of benefit from the experience I sometimes ask for a note to be sent to my department. A friend who has suffered from severe depression and self harm for years asked for a prescription for antidepressants, in the past the treatment which had been most effective. The doctor didn’t believe she had a problem, despite the conspicuous scars across her arms which screamed of issues to be addressed and mine of evidence on her file. Compare this to a non-judgemental ear and unlimited listening time, and Nightline wins easily. Obviously members can’t give prescriptions or make referrals (though neither apparently can the Health Centre unless it is dragged out of them), but it is clear why students felt that Nightline deserved recognition. Students need support, and they’re finding it most amongst themselves.