Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Uh oh...

Sometimes, when I'm reading a particularly difficult chapter in a textbook, or divulging very personal information to my classmates, or even just pondering my chosen path in life, I wonder, Did I choose the right career for me?
There are an awful lot of unknowns out there, and career placement and job security are high on my list right now. As many of you know, I'm a new Master of Education student on the Clinical Mental Health Counseling track. I still have two years of school plus two summer sessions after this semester, and each day seems to offer new challenges and open a new can of worms.
I just finished reading a chapter about how not to get sued by clients... That sounds reassuring, right? There are a lot of variables that go into the formation of counselors, such as ethics, legality, techniques, client rights, best practice, accurate representation, theory, and professional identity. How am I supposed to manage all of that, and then some?!
I wonder if one year spent in high school, four years at Longwood, now three years in graduate school, and then two years full-time gaining 4,000 hours of experience will be worth the career choice I made. Oh, and then there are all the membership fees for various counseling organizations, testing fees to take the national counselor certification exam, and the licensing fees -- all before I can officially and legally call myself a Licensed Professional Counselor. Doesn't all that sound fun?
When I'm having a less-than-fabulous day, I like to remind myself why I've "known" I wanted to be a counselor since high school (these are in no particular order):
(1) I'm smart. I'm hard-working, I'm driven, I'm goal-oriented, I refuse to procrastinate, and I'm excited to learn and grow as an individual each and every day.
(2) I'm genuinely interested in other people; I don't mean this in a voyeuristic sense, but I truly care about others' well-being and ways to help people accomplish their life goals as so many people have helped and inspired me to accomplish mine.
(3) I'm meticulous, and I enjoy documenting everything (e.g., logging my fitness hours in a color-coded Excel spreadsheet), which will be quite beneficial, if not legally mandated, in the future.
(4) I like the idea that I am joining the "helping professions." Participating actively in a line of work in which people are working constantly and collaboratively to better themselves sounds brilliant to me.
(5) I have a humongous, potentially unhealthy obsession with fondness for Post-Its notes and organization.
(6) I'm happy here. I have no regrets about the path behind me, and I love looking forward to the road ahead of me. Isn't that what this is all about, after all?

When I think about all of these things, plus all of the other benefits I will reap from counseling, I feel like I'm in the right place again. I feel like the stress, anxiety, worry, time, expense, and exhaustion are worth it. Honestly, who doesn't have moments of uncertainty or doubt? May your day be filled with hope, wonder, and pride in what you do!

P.S. Do/did you ever question your job or career choices? Do/did you have a long road to your ultimate career goal? I like to believe that "the end justifies the means." :)

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