Returning to SOLES

A blog post from SOLES Ambassador and MA in Counseling with specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Andrea Fessler: 
Now more than ever, at the impetus to my final year of graduate studies, and more specifically my final year as a SOLES student, I truly appreciate the gravity of the connections I have forged over the past two years. As I walk down the hall and see nearly all familiar faces, speak with faculty with a more effortless and authentic ease, and bond with my peers and future colleagues over our shared struggles and triumphs, a unique sense of belonging is undeniable. At the onset of my graduate training, a wise mentor emphasized the simple notion that my time spent at SOLES would be what I made of it. The sentiment could not ring more true today. Late night research meetings, department mixers, and everything in between contributed to my new and profound sense of understanding. I now understand more fully what it means to truly be a SOLES student, to be truly invested rather than passing through, and to be present and eager for opportunity. This is not to say each and every day of the last two years has been roses and sunshine, because most experiences that demand great effort and persistence, or ignite growth and development ever are. However, I continue to be stretched personally and professionally in the most beautifully uncomfortable way.
Moreover, as I begin my practicum experience at a sight that is every bit as wonderful as I had anticipated, I appreciate the foundation and security that USD provides. Not only does our institution speak for itself with respect to credentials and training, for which I carry with me a sense of pride, but it also provides a unique community of support and advocacy for its’ students and future professionals. As my final year begins, I bring with me a renewed sense of determination to invest my genuine time and energy into facets of SOLES that are near and dear to me. Whether it be research projects, committees, or simply making the extra time to meet with a valued mentor more often, my hope is to be intentional with my time in an effort to leave feeling as if I could have done no more than I did. With that said, cheers to the new school year! To my fellow peers a mere 9 months shy of graduation, cheers to all we have, and all we have yet to accomplish!

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