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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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Being Comfortable

By Kilee Brown | September 20, 2014

WOW! My first full week of internship is complete! I have loved getting to know student that I will be working with and knowing where they come from and where they are going. I played games to get to know some of the younger high school students and did some college research with the seniors. I am becoming more comfortable working with them as my time there continues. One thing I really noticed is how fast I am learning their names. I am not usually good with names unless I see the students each day. When I was working at my practicum, I saw most of the students in group and I was not able to learn their names as fast. But when I am working individually with students I make a point to actually say their name and remember something about them. This helps me connect with the students and they feel more comfortable talking to me. Or so I’ve realized.

I also make a point to say “hi” to students in the hallway as I see them. Just as an extra smile throughout their day. I don’t think many teachers do this, so it’s nice to know that I can be that “something extra” students. Connecting with students is HUGE in any educational field. I love getting to know students and what they are like outside of the classroom as well as inside school. Students are PEOPLE too. Some teachers forget that. Asking students questions and being genuine is so important for any student. But especially troubled youth.

I am still learning and every day is a surprise, but I am rolling with the punches and learning from each and every student.

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From there to here…

By Kilee Brown | September 14, 2014

I survived my first week of my internship! YAY!!

While I cannot work with students alone, I worked one-on-one with students completing intakes. When my supervisor asked me to do it, I was excited, but also nervous. These students don’t know me, why would then open up to me and tell me about their families and their lives? Surprisingly, students were very open and seemed comfortable talking to me. It was so great getting to know students one-on-one instead of in a group setting (like last semester in my practicum). As I was completing the intakes, I noticed that I felt very comfortable as I asked students questions about themselves. The “intake” was not just a form to fill it. It was in fact a conversation with a student to get to know them and understand them. And as I was asking students questions and having a conversation with them, I realized how far I have come from my Pre-Practicum class where I practiced my counseling skills to Practicum where I was working students, and now to internship. I am not always thinking about “what do I ask next in this session?” I let the student lead the conversation and my responses seem natural and I feel more confident.

In the middle of the week, my supervisor and I had students express great family concerns that impact their day to day lives and sometimes their safety. Many of their stories were sad and heartbreaking. But as a school counselor, I am there to HELP. NOT take on their problems or to make them my own. I am there to advocate and help them cope with whatever is going on in their lives.

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Exhausted.

By Kilee Brown | September 7, 2014

Well second week in and I’M EXHAUSTED (and it was really only a 3 day week)!
Two highly interactive classes on Wednesday, substitute teaching 2nd and 4th graders and class on Thursday and substitute teaching 3rd graders on Friday! On Friday, I was in bed at 7pm. And I ran the Dirty Girl 5K on Saturday and participated in a walk for Lupus on Sunday morning!
What a week! But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

In my internship class, as we were practicing our counseling skills, I realized that while I needed a refresher, I still had them! It was the BEST feeling in the world and I know that I’m growing each day! In teaching this week, I was nervous because I have very limited experience with elementary school students, but I am working to gain more experience. However, I realized this week, that I DO have what it takes to work with elementary students. And I will continue to practice. Children have so much to offer and they are so intelligent!

On Saturday, I highly debated not participating in the Dirty Girl run. But decided that yes, it was a little out of my comfort zone, and the more reason I should do it! I completed each obstacle (without falling) and had a blast! Check out my photo! And for 45 minutes I forgot about my crazy week and THAT is exactly what I needed.

This week I have a FULL 5 day week and I’m starting my internship, so BRING IT ON! I’m ready!

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Hard Work Pays Off!

By frandinl | September 5, 2014

Yay for feeling reward in your work!!

 

My undergrad background at Canisius is in Marketing. I chose that path because I thought it would be a safe bet for getting a job post-graduation.. That was the most important thing to me! With Canisius’ help through the counseling center and networking events, I was able to find a job and I worked for some reputable WNY companies for several years. I had pride in my work and felt prepared to face all obstacles thanks to my business background and education from Canisius. However at the end of the day, I did not feel a sense of reward in my work. I was missing something no matter how many different paths I would take in my career.

I always wanted to be a School Counselor and felt I would be really good at it. When I was laid off of my last job in business, I knew it was my opportunity to go back to school for what I really wanted.  Once I made that decision, the next was simple – I knew Canisius would be the place for me.

3 semesters in and I’m so happy! The program is equal parts challenging, engaging, and fulfilling. Time is flying in the program, and I might be a nerd but I look forward to all of my classes! This semester I began my practicum in a local High School. Applying my classroom work and knowledge into my practicum is such a liberating experience. I am excited to continue my education and I have a feeling my graduation day will surely be bitter-sweet!

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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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