“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.
Hey everyone! My name is Kelli and I’m so excited to start blogging for Graduate Admissions! I’m enrolled in the Master of Science in School Counseling program here at Canisius and I can’t believe I’ll be officially done in about five weeks!
A few weeks ago, my counseling colleagues (more like counseling friends) and I sat for the Comprehensive Preparatory Counseling Examination. This exam has been hanging over our heads for the past two years, with all of our professors stressing the importance of studying and passing this test so that we can graduate with our Masters. It’s basically the last hurdle we need to jump over in order to get to graduation. I’m currently enrolled in my one final class (Full Time School Counseling Internship) and it FLEW by. I think there are only four classes left before I’m officially done. Four more times I need to drive to Canisius. Four more times I need to make that absolutely necessary Starbucks run before class. Four more times I’ll be in class as a graduate student. I’ve been a student in Higher Education for a pretty long time, like 7 years long, so the fact that this is all winding down doesn’t feel real at all.
The Canisius Counseling program (both Mental Health and School) is CACREP Accredited, which basically means it’s a step above other programs. That being said, it takes at least 2 years (48 credits) to finish as compared to many 1 year Masters in School Counseling programs. I definitely needed 2 years to finish this program. I needed a little bit of time to grow up, develop my counseling skills, and start my career. What I especially love about this program is that it’s very practically oriented. When I finish my internship hours, I’ll have over 700 hours of hands-on experience as a school counselor. I’ve worked in both suburban and urban school settings and I feel as though I’ve had a wide range of experiences that were provided for me through Canisius, even though no amount of classes or professors can prepare you for buying a pregnancy test for a student, what it feels like to call CPS on a family, or unexpectedly taking a young student to the hospital! But, there is a lot of emphasis on supervision, meaning that my clinical professors have all taken a great amount of time to let us talk about our sites and our experiences, and they give us suggestions or just let us vent. As an (almost) school counselor, sometimes I feel isolated in that I can’t really share any of this stuff with anyone else, so I love that my professors care about our experiences and want us to share them.
Encouraging us to share about these experiences also helped us become close friends. There are 8 of us in the School Counseling program that are graduating in May – each of them I know very well. We hang out outside of class all of the time, whether it’s going to a bar after class, a Sabres game together, or celebrating a holiday with. I’ve been so lucky to make lifelong friends through Canisius. We’re even planning a ‘Graduation Cap Decorating Party’ in a few weeks to celebrate getting to the end of the program.
May is coming up so fast, it’ll be here before I know it and I’ll officially be a Master! If you’re thinking about committing to Canisius for a Masters in School Counseling (or Mental Health Counseling, or any other program), there is no place I would recommend more. With outstanding professors, a beautiful city campus (in the best city on Earth!), and a Nationally recognized accredited program, I can tell you this has been the best decision I’ve ever made for my education and my life. It has been such an amazing two years!
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.
… everything you see and do is part of your discipline.”
This is something that a former undergraduate friend of mine retweeted on Twitter. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. It was ironic because that day I had thought about what I was going to blog about this week and it was quite relevant.
Mental Health/School Counseling is often referred to as the “helping profession.” Counselors help people in many ways. This help is through individual and group therapy, advocating and finding resources for a client’s needs, collaborating with professionals to provide necessary and adequate services for people. Each day, even when I’m not in a school working with students and when I’m not in class, I still find myself behaving as a counselor would.
I do not work directly in a counseling field, but I do work as a care provider for people with disabilities. The house I work at serves up to 160 individuals and their families. Each day, families come in to pick up their child and express concerns for their child. These concerns range from the fact that their child is not receiving the services that they are entitled to, to the fact that a neighbor does not like the noise that their child makes due to their diagnosed disability. While my position at work is not to “counsel” families, I find myself providing information, direct resources, and emotional support right there in the doorway.
When I first began the program, my adviser told me to practice my counseling skills is my day to day interactions with people. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that this is what I do on a regular basis, oftentimes without realizing it.
Dr. Moll always says “Be who you are becoming.” This does not mean to sit in 50 minute counseling sessions with everyone that you meet. Instead this means to be present with your loved ones and work clients when they are upset, offer them support, and show that you care. Put yourself in their shoes .