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  • Realize that much fo your education will soon be out of date.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!

August 16, 2008

So little time.

This summer has flown by and I can't believe that we are heading into fall already. Stores already have Halloween candy out (ridiculous) and the air is getting cooler and cooler (which I personally like).

Gettin' Educated

First on the agenda of updates is the fact that I was accepted to Spring Arbors Masters program for School Counseling! (Yaay!!!)... which is both exciting and terrifying. I know I will do great if I stay disciplined, but it will be time consuming. And this is my last weekend as a free woman - I start Tuesday (On August 19... mine and Jordan's anniversary).

Hike the Smokeys

Late in July - Jordan and I spent a wonderful relaxing week in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We hiked, shopped, and watched cabel TV!!! It was great to get away from it all before I start into my busy school schedule and we are considering it our 2 year anniversary trip a little early. :) There is a reason they are called "Smokey". This is the view from one of the hiking trails we did. This one went 10 miles (round trip) up to Mount LeConte.
We did a hike up to Rainbow Falls - an 8 mile loop that ends up at a 80 ft free falling waterfall! It was beautiful! However... weeks later we heard in the news that a young boy and his father were mauled by a bear on this very trail!! Yikes!... scary!

Can You Feel the Love??

On July 3, 2008 my sister, Krista and her boyfriend of nearly 7 years, Ben, got engaged!!! (finally.) They are getting married on May 23, 2009 and I couldn't be MORE thrilled for them! It will be great when Ben is finally an official member of the family. They asked Jordan and I if we would take their engagement pictures - something we have NEVER done before - but we agreed... keeping in the back of our minds that it was free and if they sucked they could always pay a professional. :) However, I was pleasantly surprised at how GREAT they turned out!! Of course - it makes it easier when you are taking pictures of such photogenic people. Here are a few of my favorites...(p.s. if you click on the picture you can see it life size!)

2nd Annual "Hunting Club" Weekend

Last weekend we met up with my parents and Ben and Krista for a weekend at the "Hunting Club" up near Standish. The "Hunting Club" is what it is... meant for hunting... with a lodge to show all of the successful hunting trips throughout the years. We stayed at my grandparents old trailor - which was probably bought a good 40ish years ago... needless to say it needs some updating, but it works for a nice getaway. Jordan, Dad, and Ben have had talks of someday building a cabin up there and making it nicer for weekend trips.

This is Ben throwing himself off the paddle-boat into the mucky lake. Macy had her first swim at this time too! She was SHOCKED at first, but eventually ended up jumping off the boat and paddling a short way to shore to come back to her mommy (me.)

You better believe that there was fishing.

We were corn-holein' with the best of them. I'm pretty sure I was beat each time I played.

Macy had the time of her life running around free in and eating lots of sticks. I think Dad enjoyed playing with her too... not sure who enjoyed it more though. :) Haha.

While we were in Vol Country, we got Macy a Tennessee Vols scarf so she can cheer the team on with Mom this fall.

2nd annual hunting club family photo. This time including Macy who is not quite sure what that blinking light is on the camera. :)