When I first started the Counseling program at MSU last September, nerves, apprehension, excitement, and eagerness overwhelmed me. Although I was passionately drawn to the counseling profession, I walked into the program blind; not fully knowing what was ahead of me. I must admit the first few months in the program were difficult. I attempted to adjust to an unfamiliar environment, create new friendships, and apply myself in more challenging ways academically. It was scary yet provided me with the greatest learning experience. With the support of professors and peers, I am comfortable and confident now in my own shoes as a master’s student at MSU, excited to further learn and grow.
One aspect of the counseling program that I value most is the stimulating, enriching classroom environment. In each class, I am listened to with openness and respect; I feel safe enough to speak my mind and engage in critical dialogue. I do not only learn about the profession I am entering, but I am taught to be a continual learner of myself and of others. As I continue in the program, I reflect on my own development as an individual and an aspiring school counselor. It is through reflection that I gain overall happiness in my life and more confidence in my counseling skills. I believe the focus on self-awareness is an integral part of the counseling program, which is proving vital for my own growth and competence in the counseling profession.
Another essential component of the program that I believe makes for an incredible experience is the faculty. The professors in the counseling department are energetic, extremely knowledgeable, and bring with them invaluable experiences to provide more insight into the material I am learning. They teach integrity, passion, ambition, and encourage curiosity. Their support and expertise provide me direction and guidance as I continue to create and solidify my career path. My experience in the program thus far has not only led to unique, rewarding learning experiences but it has given me the opportunity to develop strong friendships. The friendships I now have with others in the program lend emotional and academic support. It is incredible to have such intelligent, supportive, humorous peers to lean on as we all embark on this journey together.
Even though I completed three semesters in the program, I believe a large portion of my experience as a future school counselor lies ahead of me. This fall I begin practicum working with elementary school students; I am beyond excited to apply what I have learned in the classroom to real-life situations. I am eager to expand my knowledge, embrace challenges, and learn about the many different hats a school counselor wears. I believe that my coursework thus far has prepared me academically and now I am just itching to get hands-on-experience in the school counseling field. My experience in the counseling program has been remarkable and I am very excited to see what the next year and a half entail!