Adios, Canisius!

Adios, Canisius!

Hello, Canisius!

Wow! It’s hard to believe that I have officially completed my Masters degree! Two and half years of hard work and graduate school is a wrap!

That being said, this is also my very last blog post 🙁

Internship 1… So many great memories!

I don’t even know where to begin in talking about all of the things I truly love about Canisius.

I actually found Canisius pretty randomly. My high school counselor went here and when I decided to pursue a Masters in school counseling, I looked at her Facebook page and saw that she attended Canisius. I did very little research on the school and decided to apply about a week before I walked at my undergraduate commencement. I said my prayers and sent in my application, and about six weeks later I was accepted! My mother was the one to inform me of the news over the phone when she called and as soon as she read my acceptance letter, I said to myself: “You’re really moving to Buffalo.” Little did I know, this decision would be the most life changing choice I have made.

Internship 2… Many more great learning experiences and fun!

Over the past week, I have had the opportunity to speak to TWO students who are attending Canisius next year. One graduate student coming to the school counseling program and one high school student in one of the classes I coteach who is attending Canisius in the fall for business. The graduate student I saw seemed very excited and enthusiastic about starting her new experience. The high school student’s face lit up when he talked about starting at Canisius. I loved telling both incoming students how much I love Canisius and they seemed very appreciative of the fact that I spoke highly of the college. I found myself getting a little emotional at the thought of knowing that I will not be a student there anymore. I love having these experiences to share my love for learning, Buffalo, and Canisius with potential and incoming students. They have so much fire in their eyes and I know they want to be successful at Canisius.

At Canisius, I have had the opportunity to be in the presence of such inspirational people throughout the past few years. From positive professors and mentors to and encouraging college personnel, my life has been forever changed.

The Canisius counseling program has taught me to make mistakes. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning and growing. This started in my practicum and internship experiences. As I was practicing my skills and actually making mistakes, that is how I was LEARNING.

Celebrating with my closest friends and a former student and friend!

This program has taught me to extend myself and step outside of my comfort zone to open myself to novel experiences. I have done this in professional, social, and personal aspects of my life. I understand the importance and the value in engaging in experiences that may make me feel a little uncomfortable. Throughout my time at Canisius, I have been a part of various experiences that I never ever would have had the courage or mind-set to do had it not been for my experiences at Canisius College.

My cap! This shouldn’t surprise anyone!

I have recently been offered a job in Florida, and I am considering making this my step in my career. I think I had a I not been through this program, I never would have grown in to the woman I am today. I am so very thankful for the many experiences that Canisius has offered me to grow and learn both as a student but as a person.

Being a student blogger for the program has allowed me to represent Canisius as a student and as an individual. I have reflected on myself, my counseling skills, and my positive (and negative) experiences through my blog. I have met people and read about their own students at Canisius that I never would have done if I hadn’t blogged for my program. I remember when I received an email asking me to join the team and I was so excited to represent my college.

If you’re reading this as a potential graduate student, this is me telling you to GO FOR IT! Whether it be counseling, education, or any other program, Canisius is a great environment to learn and grow. If you’re still a student, keep soaking up Canisius. Graduation will come and you will look back and realize WHO you are.

Be who you are becoming.

Peace and love.

Another Great Canisius Experience

Another Great Canisius Experience

About 6 months ago, I received an email about retreats through campus ministries. As I was looking at the dates, I realized that the only date that worked for my schedule was my 25th birthday weekend. Ohhh what the heck? SIGN ME UP!

As the date drew closer, I realized that it has been many years since I’ve gone on a retreat and I would be going with women I had never met before.

As my 25th birthday came, I was in denial that I was 5 years away from 30. I was simply “not having this” for various personal reasons. BUT I was hopeful that this mini-vacation to Erie, PA would change my outlook on life. AND boy it sure did!

I stepped so far outside of my comfort zone both in my faith and in my personal life. I am familiar with the Catholic faith and have participated in many Catholic activities over the years. But like back then, I still found myself being uncomfortable since I am not Catholic and do not engage in the same practices in my own faith. I am a firm believer that my higher power is present regardless and I can learn about faith from any perspective.

Oh, did I mention that I stayed the night in the convent? In a room like the nuns stay in? As I gathered with the rest of the Canisius women for “evening prayer” with the nuns. I couldn’t help but think “What am I doing here?” There were so many songs, readings and things to remember!

It was a little uncomfortable eating dinner with a bunch of nuns too! But after the first meal it turned out to be my favorite part! It was so inspiring to hear the stories of these women including how they got to the convent, what their families were like, and the ministries that they serve in Erie.

One of the women even talked about her ministry as a counselor servicing those with PTSD and military families. She talked in depth about her experiences and opened up many new areas of knowledge for myself as an emerging counselor.

I wish I could say that my spirit was lifted through a particular event of this retreat, but it wasn’t. I was lifted through the work, the spirit and the faith of other women. I was touched by each woman’s story during this retreat weekend.

So where does CANISIUS play a role in this experience? I seriously love Canisius and everything that it has to offer. I almost regret not having been involved in campus ministries sooner. I loved seeing the bond between the women that knew each other and experiencing love from those women although I did not know them prior to this retreat. I loved the way that they spoke about Canisius College with such passion and love. A few were even retired from working at Canisius and came back for this retreat. THAT is how special this experience and Canisius is to them!

Peace and love.

Cheers to a New Year!

Cheers to a New Year!

Hello friend of Canisius! I hope this new year has been treating you well and that your holidays were filled with joy and happiness spent with family, friends, and loved ones.

But are YOU ready for classes to begin?

It seems like just yesterday, I was loading up my Subaru, hugging my mother and sister goodbye and heading to Buffalo to begin the next chapter of my life. Now, 2 years later, I am entering my FINAL semester of graduate school. “What is my life?” has been the question I’ve been asking myself.

Am I ready to graduate and begin my career? Well I know that regardless of me “feeling ready” it’s going to happen anyway.
Throughout my professional experiences of both 2013 and 2014, I have continued to build relationships with students and other professionals and further developed my counseling skills. Through my recent internship experience, I have realized that while Buffalo is a great place, students experience great tragedy, disappointment, heartbreak, and distress.

During 2014, I completed a practicum placement, half of an internship placement, and ten courses. Personally, I fell in love, met great people along the way, experienced heartbreak, and continue to gain emotional strength. I ran a half marathon, a quarter marathon, and several 5ks and 10ks. Personally and professionally, 2014 was a year of commitment and accomplishment.

As you reflect on your 2014 year, what did you learn? How did you grow? What goals did you achieve? What goals make you excited for 2015?

Wait, I didn’t learn this in graduate school…

Wait, I didn’t learn this in graduate school…

Hi all,

BOY, has it been a LONG, yet exciting week! As I have mentioned previously, in addition to my school counseling internship, I am a substitute teacher. I am constantly dealing with the disrespect of students in the classroom. I handle situations accordingly and because of my experiences in the classroom, I am able to confidently deal with students. HOWEVER, this week both in teaching and counseling, I was given two situations that I managed, but was challenged by.

On Wednesday, I was in a session with a student, my supervisor, and a classroom teacher. The student became angry and was swearing, blaming all staff in the session for an academic issue she was having. She was continuously looking at ME and raising her voice at ME. I finally had to explain to her that she was acting inappropriately to myself, the teacher, and my supervisor. I was very direct with her in a way that shocked every one in the room. I explained to her that I was not going to tolerate her talking to me the way she was and that she was blaming others for her own issues and she was not receptive of the support she was being provided. As uneasy as I was with this session, I was told that I had done a great job handling the unexpected situation. After the session, I had a hard time calming down. I had never been put in a situation like that as counselor. As a counselor, we are to be nurturing and therapeutic to students. But I knew that being directive to this student was appropriate and necessary. I DIDN’T LEARN THIS IN GRADUATE SCHOOL! I am however glad that I learned it in internship!

On Thursday, I worked in a 3rd grade special education classroom. SHOULD have been a piece of cake. But was NOT. I was asked to “take a walk” with an angry student. Alright. As I walk into the hall with this boy, he begins to yell, swear, and make mean comments to a passing teacher. He then runs into the main office and begins to throw objects on the floor, rip papers, and hit computers. This behavior continued throughout the day. As a substitute teacher, only having worked with this student briefly once before. I had NO idea what to do. I instantly referred back to my experience working with children with disabilities but without knowing this child, I really couldn’t do anything except try to maintain safety for those around him and seek assistance from those around me. While this situation was not ideal, a great deal of collaboration and teamwork made this manageable for everyone involved.

I was CHALLENGED this week, but I grew professionally. In the classroom or as a school counselor, I am going to be given challenging students in various situations and sometimes being directive is okay.

Many lessons were learned this week. HOWEVER. It’s Friday. Time to “relax” and write research papers!

Be well, Griffs!

Helping

Helping

Hi all,
Welcome to part 3 of self harm! I am reading a book for my Self Destructive Behaviors class called “Comes the Darkness Come the Light: A memoir of cutting, healing, and hope” and I am also using a book called “Hope and Healing for Kids Who Cut” to further my knowledge of how to HELP those who cut and self harm in my work as a practicing school counselor.

In these books, I am finding that those who self harm have:

1) Self harmed over a long period time.
-In the memoir I am reading, the woman has what many would consider a great life. She has a husband, children, multiple degrees and is a teacher. BUT as a child she was told not to deal with her emotions. As a result, she started self injuring when she was in 5th grade. She started by hitting herself in the head with a hair brush until she had a headache. That led to hitting her against a wall until she would pass out. Over time, as an adult she was cutting herself immensely. I write this not to give you a summary of the book, but to make more self harm options KNOWN.

2) Self harm along with another mental health issue either to cope or to mask other struggles.
-The woman in the memoir also struggled with an eating disorder caused by her belief that physically she was not good enough. Depression was also present, as well as childhood physical and emotional abuse.

Counselors need to keep these concepts in mind:

Humility– Ask for help! Know your own limitations and know that helping self harming clients will not provide instant gratification.

Authenticity– Be genuine with clients who self harm. Clients (especially young students) are looking for someone to talk to about their self harm. Be honest and show them that you can be trusted as a helping person for them.

Acceptance– Accept the client for what they are. Clients feel that their behavior is socially unacceptable and that others will not accept them because of their behavior.

Gentleness– Tough words and actions can damage a client worse than their physical wounds. Be mindful of what you say to help them.