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Here you will find Canisius College graduate students sharing their thoughts and experiences. These posts explore the dedication and responsibilities of a being a graduate student, as well as the triumphs and successes.

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One more year!

By Kilee Brown | August 28, 2014

Well, folks! I have one year left of graduate school!

It’s really crazy to think about! I have already began to study for the comprehensive exam that counseling students are required to pass before graduation.

In my first semester in the program, I remember learning SO much about myself and being challenged to step out of my comfort zone, as well as self disclose in appropriate ways. This semester is going to be much of the same. In my substance abuse course, I am writing a paper about how the substance use and abuse of others has impacted me and my career as a school counselor. I will be starting (soon, hopefully) a paper about my sexuality and how it relates to my career, relationships, and myself. However, you must know, I am VERY apprehensive about this assignment. Many aspects of the assignment are considered private pieces of my life (as well as my colleagues). But I am going to attempt the assignment with an open mind and do what I feel COMFORTABLE with.

In addition to graduate school, I have began the substitute teaching “interview” process. The interview process is very simple and a few do not even require an actual interview, but more of a “meet and greet.” I had a principal on Tuesday tell me that the purpose of the 15 minute interviews were to make sure that professionals can be professional and carry a conversation and “put words together.” This really stuck with me. And that is exactly what interviews ARE. LIGHTBULB! This year in substitute teaching I am extending myself as much as possible into the younger age group. I will be potentially be working with early childhood student (NOT my area of practice or expertise) but I am looking forward to new experiences both in counseling and teaching this year!

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Teaching vs. Counseling and Everything in Between

By Kilee Brown | August 15, 2014

Well, more like what’s in between…

I ALWAYS get the questions “So you want to be a school counselor?” “You don’t want to be a teacher anymore?” And my favorite question is “School Counselor or Teacher?”

I honestly can’t answer either one of those questions in one word.

I have two teaching certifications. BUT I chose to attend grad school for school counseling for TWO reasons. 1) Everyone I went to college with was getting their Masters in Literacy, Special Education, etc. I didn’t want to go the same route as anyone else, and I wanted to learn something different. 2) I served as a peer counselor to my peers at Keuka College, where I attended college for undergrad. I truly developed a passion (and motivation) for helping students.

Last semester in Practicum, I often felt “confused” in my role as a teacher and a practicing school counselor (I think I blogged about it earlier).

I recently began tutoring a 4th grade student in math. As I was tutoring her the past few weeks, I felt myself feeling “calm” like the counselor. But my brain was moving like a teacher! When my student had difficulties, I encouraged her to take a deep breath and I offered her assistance. Don’t get my wrong, I do not often grow “frustrated” when I am teaching. But something feels different for me when I’m tutoring. I was even asking OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS, which is something I’ve struggled with both in teaching and counseling.

While I’m tutoring, I DO NOT serve as a counselor, but I have found that I am able to use my counseling skills to be a better tutor and teacher for this student.

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Big Changes

By Kilee Brown | August 8, 2014

In exactly 2 weeks I will be leaving a job that I enjoy in order to pursue my passion and dream of becoming a school counselor. In just a few weeks I will be entering my FINAL year of graduate school, as well as my part-time internship. It’s really crazy to think that this time has come ALREADY. During this time, I will also be working as a tutor and a substitute teacher.

While I am hopeful for my future and I know that this change of employment is necessary and in my best interest, I am still a little nervous. Change is always something that has been difficult for me.

As counselors, we are constantly helping our clients move to a change within themselves, as well as coping with changing. “Change” is often a reason why people seek counseling and as a future counselor, it’s important for me to embrace the changes in my life to learn and progress each day.

Over the past year, I have met so many people with disabilities and their families that have forever changed my life. Now I am called to work with more people and their families and complete my graduate degree. Bittersweet.

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There are quite a few things that I wouldn’t be able to survive graduate school without. Here they are!

The GYM.

The gym is my stress relief from all things chaotic in my life such as grad school and work. The gym is another place where I meet my goals and I unwind.

TEA.

Tea is just relaxing. Cold tea. Hot tea. They are both my grad school staple. I just feel so relaxed when I am drinking tea. Last semester I drank tea in all of my classes and to ME that is how I managed. AND tea is good for you! SO hydrating!

MUSIC.

Music is my alternative reality. Whether it’s driving to school or after a long day in classes and internships, I love cranking up some tunes in my car and driving home. It pumps me up to start or end my day!

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Farewell

By Cody Elniski | August 6, 2014

Greetings all! To come up with the blog idea for this week, I entered three nouns that I feel are close to me into a topic generator online. The three nouns I entered were “school, art, and drawing”. I used the results to decide that this week I will describe the process I use to draw my artwork. Drawing is not as complicated as some people make it out to be. It does require much skill and patience, but with enough practice you could become a great artist without having any initial experience in the craft. I have always loved creating art as it is my true passion. If I am working on a drawing and using a reference (a picture), I study the picture a few days ahead of time. I’ll look very closely at the reference to get a good idea of how the lines and shapes should be made. After that, I sit down and slowly draw the image from memory while also looking at the reference.  As soon as the image is drawn, I color it in and presto! I know it doesn’t sound too exciting, but there are a lot of mental processes that go on but I can’t explain them too well.

Here we are fellow readers. The end of the journey and One-Year MBA Program is here. This week marks the 42nd and final week of the program. It has been an absolutely crazy ride and it feels amazing to finish graduate school.  The feeling is bittersweet because although I am finished, there are some incredible individuals in our program and we have gotten close over the past year. Regardless, I wish every single one of them the best and hope they have a great future. I would like to thank all of my readers who have been alongside me during this experience. Lastly, I hope that these thirty blog entries will help future One-Year MBA students understand the program at a deeper level. It’s been very fun and exciting writing these blogs, farewell everyone!

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Status Quote

By Cody Elniski | July 30, 2014

Aubrey Graham once said “Everybody dies but not everybody lives”.  This is probably the best quote I have heard in a long time. It is a simple statement that describes a powerful truth. We were gifted life to exist at this very moment. At this very moment we continue our lives, whether it is me typing this blog or you reading it. How I live what was granted to me is the most important thing I consider every day. Since the date of our birth our days are numbered on this beautiful planet. It may seem like a melancholy idea to some, but to me it is both motivating and inspiring. Living your life to the fullest provides me with relief that I am not wasting a moment of the time that was given to me. For this reason, I always keep this quote in the back of my mind.

 

I know that one day I will not be here, but until that happens I will cherish every single thing I experience. The experience could be good and joyful or bad and stressful, either way I will be thankful for it. I am very grateful for the opportunity to complete the One-year MBA program, or attend graduate school at all. The first program I applied to rejected me and as a result I thought graduate school was not a possibility. Canisius provided me with a second chance to obtain the degree I wanted. I love to live graciously and without expectations, so everything that happens is a pleasant surprise to me.  I would be very interested to read what your favorite quote is, so feel free to comment below. There are only two weeks left in our program! The finish line is near and look forward to the blog for next week!

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Grad school is a journey.  The MBAPA program presents a rigorous curriculum that pushes you to learn.  As I reflect on some challenging semesters, I am now left with a wealth of knowledge and a great sense of accomplishment.  The endless hours of studying have left me with an extremely rewarding experience.

 

Throughout my time at Canisius the essentials have propelled me through the program.  My taste for coffee has turned into an obsession to motivate me though hours of staying focused on my work.  Finding a balanced schedule with time to run and eat a balanced diet has kept me clear and energized.  The one thing that I did not anticipate being the most critical key to my success was building a strong group of friends to go through the experience with together.

 

The MBAPA program is no doubt a challenge.  From my experience, developing a strong group of friends to share this time with is invaluable.  Having the opportunity to share your day-to-day experience, learn with others, and make some great friends has been my key to survival. As my group pushed through the program, we always found the time to get together away from the books and share a laugh.  Canisius not only provided me with the tools to succeed in the professional world, but also a tight group of friends to support each other through the challenging academic times.  As you embark on your journey through graduate school, remember that finding the time to develop some great friendships can be one of the most beneficial ways to surviving graduate school.

 

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Financing the End

By Cody Elniski | July 21, 2014

The second summer session has reached its half way point for the One-Year MBA students. I am only taking one class during this time called Finance Technology. This course explores the trading and technical aspects of Microsoft Excel and the Stock Market. As an assignment for each week we have to make a strategic trade on a simulated stock market and explain why we did it. For this week’s assignment, I wanted to hedge four stocks, two from the oil industry and two from the electric industry, against one another. Hedging is when you invest in a financial instrument that you expect to increase in value, while simultaneously investing in another instrument you expect to decrease by the same value. The result of my trade was just what I wanted. The two oil stocks generated a loss of $821 while the two electric stocks generated a profit of $890. This resulted in a net profit of $69. I great hedge if you ask me!

We only have three weeks of class left in our program. This has been a very long but rewarding experience. Some of us have secured jobs, others internships, some are still searching. However, there is no doubt in my mind that every student in our program will become very successful in the future. Like our program, my time as your blogger is also slowly coming to an end. By the time I leave my position as One-Year blogger, I will have submitted over thirty entries for you to read through. I hope they can provide a unique mindset into what the One-Year program, and Buffalo, has to offer when you begin your journey in a few weeks. Due to not having time to post an entry last week, I will be posting another one later in the week. Look forward to it!

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Listen to your body!

By Kilee Brown | July 21, 2014

Hi all,
Have you ever had an ache or a pain, or maybe even an illness that you KNEW was there but DID NOT pay attention to? I think we all have. We’re either in denial or afraid to see a professional.

Last week, lately I have been really good about exercising 5 days a week and eating well. But last week at the gym I had to cut my workout short because I got light-headed. WHAT? I suddenly realized that since I had been exercising so much that I also needed to put more food into my body. Since reestablishing a better balanced diet, I am feeling WONDERFUL with tons of energy! Well that energy only lasts until about 7pm, but I’ll take what I can get. I see a personal trainer and she always tells me to “listen to my body.” And I’m very guilty of not always doing that.

This applies to more than just exercise. Constant headaches and muscle tension are signs of stress. These types of things can usually be treated ourselves. But when something else is out of whack, it might be time to see a doctor or other health professional.

As a counselor in training, we are taught to take care of ourselves and in todays world, it’s often difficult. We are always being pushed into a thousand directions, but sometimes we have to think about ourselves for a bit. If our bodies and minds are not functioning healthily, we cannot be a help to our friends, families, and OUR CLIENTS.

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Learning From Each Other

By Kilee Brown | July 15, 2014

It is no surprise to many that I RAVE about graduate school to everyone that I know. I HONESTLY do. I love this program for so many reasons. BUT the other night in class I realized ANOTHER reason why.

In college classes (especially undergraduate) students are taught from “curriculum”. A professor stands up in front of you and talks about what it is you “need to know” about your major, what to “do” and what “not to do.” At least that has been my experience with the majority of my undergraduate professors.

In the School Counseling/Mental Health program, the professors still use textbooks, articles, and other traditional teaching methods, but the majority of them teach using EXPERIENCE in addition to traditional methods. For me, this brings the profession to life and I am LEARNING more based on their admitted mistakes, and most importantly their wisdom and insight.

I could give many examples of my professors doing this, but the other night in my class, my professor conceptualized a family with us. She drew out a family tree and explained the many components of a family with multiple mental health diagnoses. To me, this was invaluable. I left class that night, feeling like I had spent time working with that family. I also felt like I had more knowledge and hope for when I have to someday take on a challenge as a school counselor.

Another activity that we are doing in class is each of us is picking a mental health disorder, researching it, and sharing our findings with the class. Many of the students in my class have experience with these disorders (myself included) and hearing the different experiences both personally and professionally is simply amazing. We are bouncing ideas off of each other, supporting our ideas with clinical research and information, and questioning each other in a professional way. As graduate students should.

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