August 30, 2008

Overwhelmed... and loving it!

I am officially 2 weeks into grad school!

At this point I am completely overwhelmed with all that I have to do in the next 2 1/2 years, but I know it will be SO well worth it. I have found myself doubting if this is something I can actually do... will I be an effective counselor? Will I be able to actually counsel in a role that I enjoy? Will it be worth the thousands of dollars we are spending on this education? God has lead me here - so my answer is yes. It will be challenging, but that is why I am doing it. I want to grow as a person and as a "helper" in this world.

I am reading this book for my first class called Becoming a Helper by Marianne Schneider Corey and Gerald Corey. I am actually REALLY enjoying it - it is very applicable to where I am at in this journey - as they even discuss their own questions, concerns, and insecurities as they were beginning in this profession. They assure the reader that it is "okay" to feel this way - everyone does. I feel a huge amount of reassurance in reading this and confidence that I am taking the right steps.

Here they list suggestions for creating your professional journey - things I should keep in mind as I step into the counseling profession. However - I think these are good suggestions for anyone starting a new career.
  • Look for opportunities to stretch yourself. Focus on what you can do rather than the limitations you have.
  • Seek help when you need it, both personally and professionally.
  • Find a group of people who are supportive and can offer you encouragement.
  • Seek out at least one mentor and become closely networked with others in the helping professions.
  • Get supervision and be open to feedback and learning.
  • Remain connected to those people who mean the most to you in your life. Take time for your family and your spiritual core.
  • Strive to integrate your personal and professional journeys. Be committed to taking care of yourself in all ways.
  • Learn about people from cultures different from yours and become culturally competent.
  • Stay humble and open. Be your genuine self. Lear from others and integrate that into who you are.
  • Listen to your intuitive voice and create your own path.
  • Don't think of mistakes as failures but rather as opportunities for growth and change.
  • Establish both long-term and short-term goals.
  • Realize that much fo your education will soon be out of date.
  • Recognize that obstacles, disappointments, and failures are all teachable moments.
  • Maintain a sense of humor.
  • You're a part of the future. You can make a significant difference. Become an agent of individual and social change.
  • Don't become easily discouraged.
  • Work hard and set high standards for yourself.
  • Think globally, act locally.
  • Give back to the profession. Join a professional organization and attend conferences.
  • Read, discuss, reflect, and keep a journal.
  • Don't focus on the financial aspects of a job.
  • Develop interests outside of the counseling field.
  • Identify your strengths and limitations. Seek out self-exploration and therapeutic experiences.
  • Keep life simple and passionate.
  • Dare to dream and have the courage to pursue your passions.
I find these statements EXTREMELY encouraging. Reminding me that this is something that I CAN do with great success!! :)

I have decided that I am not doing the School Counseling emphasis anymore, but rather the Community Counseling. This will give me a wider variety of experience and exposure to different types of situations in my internship and elective courses - which will help me to eventually land a job somewhere. I have a passion for youth and young women - and I do not feel that I necessarily NEED to be in a school in order to do what I want to do. I don't want to limit myself to only working in a school at this point. While the School Counseling degree wouldn't limit me in that I would still graduate with a LLPC, my experience would not be as diverse and that is something that I want. We'll see - down the road I may want to take courses in School Counseling and see what I can do... but that is my decision for now!

Jordan has been EXTREMELY supportive and encouraging as I embark on this journey. I obviously don't have as much time to lounge around with him, but he is letting me study and do homework as he works on the house - relieving some of this work for me. He is an amazing husband! :) I guess that is why I married him!

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