4 More Weeks

4 More Weeks

Hello everyone! I am excited to write my first post. Though my topic might not be exciting the end result is. We have a month left in our spring semester and all the work is piling up. Paper, projects and exam preparations fill our time and our mind. We have to get them done. We have no choice. So the month beings…

 

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Looking at your calendar and how close the due dates and deadlines are you start to plan out every second of every day. You plan what you are going to do, who you are going to see, what time you have to go to work and if you are lucky you might think about how long you are going to be able to sleep. Mapping out my life has become a daily part of my routine. I plan out everything down to how many articles I need to read before I allow myself to get up to get some water or go to sleep. I say to myself, take it one day at a time, you can do this and/or just think of yourself on a beach somewhere with a drink in your hand.

 

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The semester is almost done, there are 4 weeks left of classes. So why do your professors insist on assigning the same due date to EVERY final project, paper and exam that you have! Is this their way of testing us to see if we can hold through all the pressure that they are putting on us?

We may never know. All I know is that I have 4 papers and 4 exams in the last 4 weeks of the semester. And it’s time to get it done.

The fact of the matter is that we are in graduate school for a reason. We wanted to grow in our fields. You could have stopped going to school after you got your Bachelor’s degree but what fun would that be? I wanted to make myself a more knowledgeable person and help people when they feel like they can’t touch the ground. So when I think about the due dates and the examinations they do not seem so bad. I put on my professional glasses and see that what I am doing and learning is something that I would not change for anything. But switching back to my student glasses I feel like I am so done with the semester and it needed to end yesterday. This is part of the deal yes I know and there are only 4 more weeks to go.

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-Amanda Feron

Masters in School Counseling

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

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.

Teaching from a Counseling Perspective

Teaching from a Counseling Perspective

Hello, Canisius friends!

I am settling into my “new position” at Sweet Home and could not be happier! While I have experienced a few challenges already, I have experienced great moments of connection with my students. While I was a substitute teacher the past few years, I have NEVER denied students the ability to go to the counseling center. That is how I always used my counseling knowledge in the classroom when I first started in the counseling program. As I advanced in my classes, I am able to use my counseling skills in the classroom a different way…

1) I encourage students to talk to each other and look at each other. While I have not done this yet as a special education teacher, I have done it as a substitute teacher in other settings. In my counseling classes, when working with groups (and in our classes) we tell our clients to talk to each other. This makes clients feel cared for and important and that he or she is a part of something beneficial to them.

2) Empathizing with students who struggle. I have quite a few students who struggle academically with reading and writing. In my experience, many teachers do not understand why students have a hard time completing work. I want my students to understand that it’s OKAY to have a hard time and that I am there to support them. I find myself being very empathetic and understanding and saying things like “I understand this is hard.” Many of them begin to relax once I say something like that.

3) Offer assistance with college preparations. Many of my students are community college bound and are applying for admission to college and scholarships. Some struggle to understand the application, which is where I can assist them as a teacher, but also use my counseling experience and knowledge to be a better resource for them.

4) When I was at my counseling internship, my supervisor was always asking students “Is there anything you need at home?” because many students had needs. While teaching the past few weeks I’ve found myself asking questions such as “Do you need anything?” and “What can I do to make you more successful?” Those are natural questions for both teacher and counselors.

I could go on and on about how much I love working with students, but my FAVORITE part is realizing when students are starting to trust you, open up to you, and seek you out for help. It is honestly the most amazing feeling in ANY educational profession. I honestly feel like a “better teacher” because of my counseling experience and I would not trade this for the world.

BIG changes

BIG changes

Earlier this week I received a phone call that will forever change my career and my view on “things happen for a reason.” I was offered a long-term substitute position as a special education teacher at Sweet Home High School! I have been working within the district in various capacities throughout the past two years and it’s paid off! I did not apply for this position and the TIMING could not have been more perfect or worse, all at the time same time. But after working things out with my supervisor at my internship and with my internship professor at Canisius, I was able to accept the position and I start in two days!

But with this good news came goodbyes. It meant leaving my internship much sooner than anticipated. While this experience has been extremely challenging for me both personally and professionally, I had grown to truly love the students and teachers I worked with. In my six of working with students in schools, goodbyes have NEVER come easy. While some students seemed unaffected by my departure, many of them appeared excited for my next adventure, but a little sad that I was leaving at the end of the week. Throughout the rest of the week “What? You’re leaving?” was a common phrase. It felt great to know that I had an impact on these students in some way, even the students who I thought I hadn’t.

Working with such a challenging population has made me realize that while the students may not SHOW me that they care and are impacted by me being there, even for a short period of time, they in fact DID notice my presence. And THAT is what I left that school with. I made differences. Small differences.

My time at the Stanley G. Falk School has come to an end, but I know that new doors are opening for me.

Role plays… Love them or hate them?

Role plays… Love them or hate them?

Alright, we’ve all had to do them in class at one point or another right? From skits to mock interactions with others, they are probably everyone’s dreaded activity.

I am the world’s WORST actress. I will be the first one to tell you this. Throughout my undergraduate and graduate career, I always DREADED getting up in front of people and “pretending” or “acting.” It always made me so nervous! NOW as a counseling graduate student, role plays are inevitable. Whether they be in front of a class or just in front of a few people. I have grown so used to them that they don’t even make me nervous. BUT they make me UNCOMFORTABLE.

Uncomfortable is OKAY though.

A few weeks ago I attended a counseling seminar on working with children and adolescents with anxiety at Canisius. We were given puppets and told to role play in how we would work with children using them. Now me already working in the counseling field and having experienced counseling role play after role play in my classes, I thought “How hard could this possibly be?” I was WRONG. I have never felt so uncomfortable and incompetent! It was just a role play, but I had no idea what I was doing! It was then explained to me by a colleague that puppets used in counseling is a different type of “role play.” And then the therapeutic elements of play therapy were explained. But it was through HER role play that I understood how to use puppets in therapy!

It was then that I realized how USEFUL role plays are in my role as a counselor in training. Through role plays, I am able to see OTHERS use their skills and develop my own as well! The content of classes is then brought to life. I am currently taking Advanced Couples Counseling and role plays are an essential part of the curriculum. It can be very intimidating to engage in a “role play” of a realm of counseling that is unfamiliar. But it is often through the discomfort that students learn about the skill at hand.

In the future my clients may benefit from me “role playing” situations with them. This is useful in working with students to build social skills, as well as other skills. Role playing is like practice. And practice of any skill is essential.