This week I started a graduate degree program in school and community counseling. Yup. Big life change. Not only am I taking a full 12 credits of class, but I also gave up my (salaried with benefits, everyday-is-casual-day, greatly autonomous, with occasional product perks) job to do it.
You might be thinking, “what were you thinking?!”
Well, first of all, in addition to all of the characteristics listed above, my job was also incredibly boring. I worked remotely in a building owned by my customer (read: filled with other vendor representatives, which I was discouraged from socializing with), in a controlling and condescending environment (read: this particular customer is notorious for being demanding and difficult to work with), and didn’t have enough to keep me busy for 20 hours a week, let alone 40 (read: eyes glossing over just thinking about it). So after only 10 months, I was practically running out the door.
The up side is that I have been awarded a graduate assistant position in the university’s career services office. Presentations, event planning, and resume critiques – oh my! So despite the loss of salary, I’ll be enjoying my work much more and will have my tuition taken care of along the way. I certainly can’t complain.
Now, why counseling? To make a long story short, I have always enjoyed working with people in a helping capacity. In a previous role working in college admissions, I was given the opportunity to work very closely with high school students and school counselors. It was amazing to me all of the hats the school counselors wore and the different roles they played in the lives of their students. That really appealed to me, and so I started taking some classes. The more classes I took, the more I became interested in mental health counseling. Being able to provide support and assistance to troubled adults and families would also be an extremely rewarding and challenging career. Now, I simply can’t decide which I like more. So I’m doing both.
However, as part of my program, my classmates and I have all been encouraged to seek out our own counseling. As the saying goes,
“Every good counselor has a good counselor.”
So that will be my next challenge. Finding a counselor and getting up the courage to do some serious work in therapy sessions. And I say courage because it really does take courage. It’s not necessarily fun – and certainly isn’t easy. Trust me, I’ve worked with some very resistant ‘clients’ (aka classmates) and it’s like pulling teeth to get anything juicy out of them. But even so, I’m still excited about the idea of working through life’s issues, big and small.
Lord knows I have plenty of them. (But really, don’t we all?)