Professional Goals

When I first had the idea of going back to school and chose a two year program I felt like it was going to take forever. Now a year in, I am realizing that I have less than 300 days until graduation and also have no idea where the time has gone! With that being said, I suppose it is time for me to think about career goals.

As a School Counseling major, there are really two things that I need to consider when making professional goals; what age group I want to work with and where I want to be.

As I begin my practicum and internship, I hope to gain experience and figure out what age group I prefer. I anticipate that I will like a high school setting but I will also do rotations in a middle school and elementary school too. But let’s be honest, whoever is hiring will work for me!

Where do I want to be? That is the real question. I am thankful that this degree allows me to work in so many different states but it certainly doesn’t help me narrow my options. I do have some time to figure this out as I have to stay in the State of NY until I earn my professional certification. For those of you who might be on a similar track, check out this article: https://www.zippia.com/advice/best-states-for-counselors/

Exploring Buffalo!

Exploring Buffalo!

When I moved to Buffalo a little over a year ago I vowed to myself that I would take time to explore the city and the surrounding towns. After one year I hadn’t done nearly enough exploring so now I get to try and fit it all into basically this summer, but I’m doing it!!

I started my adventure yesterday by visiting Letchworth State Park, which is located about an hour south of Buffalo. I spent the day exploring the park with three of my girlfriends. As I’m sure you can see from my picture, it was wonderful! Such a beautiful park with so many different trails. I highly recommend checking it out.

The real purpose of this post though was to remind everyone how important self-care is in life and especially in grad school. It was so refreshing just to get away for the day and reset. This is KEY to surviving grad school. I encourage everyone to find their outlet, whatever allows you to drop the stress and enjoy the day. For me, getting outside is an easy (and cheap) way to take a step away from the real world and disconnect from the stress. What’s yours and when do you practice it?

I’m already looking forward to my next adventure, but for now at least, it’s back to the real world!

 

Life in Buffalo!

Life in Buffalo!

I just want to start by saying: Buffalo gets a really bad rap. On average, Syracuse gets more snow than us! But either way, most people thought I was crazy. As a Vermonter, I’m used to the snow but I have mountains as a way to entertain the snow. So naturally, when I started telling my friends I was moving to Buffalo for grad school their initial reaction was something like this: “Buffalo? Are you okay?” or “But there are no mountains, how will you ski?” What they didn’t know was how fun this city really is, until of course they came to visit and now I can’t get them to leave me alone.

Before moving to Buffalo I had visited with my roommate, from undergrad, who’s from Buffalo. I’ll admit, when I first started visiting in 2011 it was a little boring, but each year as I kept coming to see her I noticed the growth within the city. There was always a new spot that had just been re-done and we had to go check it out. After living here for a year, I can say that this is still the theme.

I love Buffalo because it is a city but it’s not too big. I really think it’s the perfect size. There’s no traffic, tons of nightlife and the cost of living is insanely inexpensive. It’s the perfect mix! And if you did want a big city, no worries, Toronto is only an hour and a half away.

Overall my experience in Buffalo this past year has been so much fun! I’m so excited that I still have a year left to explore!

Don’t be busy. Be productive.

Don’t be busy. Be productive.

The one lesson I will take away after a year of grad school: “Don’t be busy. Be productive.”

Time management is SO important in grad school. When I first started grad school for School Counseling, I chose to go full-time. I was at the max of 12 credits, working in an office setting, and serving/bar-tending on weekends for about 20 hours each week. I learned VERY fast that time management is key to being successful in school and at work. I have always felt that I was good at managing my time but this was different. I had to make sure that school was the first priority and figure out how to make that happen when it’s so easy to put it on the back burner. For example: I learned that if school is my first priority, and therefore had to get done in the morning. I was too exhausted at the end of the day to even think about reading.

Another key for me to manage my time was my planner, which is my baby. At the beginning of the semester I made myself a road map; I took all my syllabi and wrote down every due date for every assignment. Then I went back through it and figured out when I should start each assignment and wrote myself reminders throughout my planner. I also added my work schedules in as I received them. At the beginning of each week, I looked it all over and saw if I had any opportunities to get ahead or compared schedules to make sure I had enough time to get my weekly goals accomplished. Needless to say, this planner saved my life. It never left my side. I was constantly checking and doing my best to stay on track.

Lastly, I want to mention how important it was for me to choose to make time for myself. It’s really easy to get burned out in grad school. The key to avoiding burnout is finding time to do something you enjoy. For me, that is making time before I go to sleep to watch at least one episode of New Girl on Netflix. It was my release to step away from the madness and get lost in this show. And of course, it was scheduled in my planner!

At the end of the day, my biggest recommendation to succeed in grad school is, “Don’t be busy. Be productive”. Get a planner. Use every second effectively. It will pay off.

Starting Over at 24

“It’s never too late to start over. If you weren’t happy with yesterday, try something different today. Don’t be stuck. Do better” – Andy Wooten 

Something I never thought would be for me, going to grad school – especially after being in the work force for over two years. One day while at work, I found myself completely unsatisfied with the track I had chosen. I was a business major through undergrad. Although I was at an entry level position, I knew after two years what my future would look like and it was not what I imagined it to be. This is when I began exploring graduate school.

My initial thoughts: After all the time I put in undergrad, I felt like it was all going to be thrown out the window; a waste of time, money and effort. Who am I kidding? Did I even remember how to study or write a paper? As I began exploring my options I couldn’t even wrap my head around sitting in a classroom, writing a paper, or taking out loans.

Although I was feeling apprehensive about a career change and just going back to school in general, I knew I couldn’t continue down this path and school had potential to be my way out. After meeting with a Canisius Graduate Admissions Counselor for the School Counseling program and getting a tour of the campus, the idea of graduate school became more of a hope for the future than an unrealistic anxiety.

Almost a year into my two year program, I have realized that it’s never too late. At 18 years old, knowing what you want to be when you grow up is pretty unrealistic for most of us. I feel lucky that I figured it out at 24. Graduate school gave me an opportunity to explore other areas as slowly or as quickly as I choose. Many Canisius programs are designed for people who are working full time and professors understand that the hours you are in class is considered precious time. They give you exactly what you need, no more and no less. Going back to school and choosing to change my path made me realize that my undergraduate degree was not a waste of time, money or effort – it is actually very applicable in many aspects and makes me a more holistic person as I expand my knowledge in other areas. And if you were one of the lucky ones who got it right the first time, graduate school is just a step to expand your knowledge, network within your community and take a huge step in your career.

I am so glad I took the leap. I can’t even imagine where I would be if I had settled with my undergrad degree.