What the Summer Will Bring

A blog post from graduating MA in Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialization, Ambassador Juliana Abercrobmie:
A typical summer for me or any other SOLES graduate student involves beach trips, friends and family, summer courses, and hopefully some study abroad. These are all things that I love and would usually be looking forward to as the semester wraps up, but this summer is a new story. This summer, I graduate. Actually, this WEEKEND I graduate. It’s finally time!
I think every summer comes with the promise of newness–it’s an opportunity to rejuvenate. This summer is no different, but the rejuvenation that lies ahead is also my first step into my career. This year, the summer brings a whole new adventure. I’ll have my MA degree and be ready to make my entrance as a professional clinical counseling intern (PCCI) working toward licensure as a professional clinical counselor (LPCC). So what does that mean? Well, it means lots of anxiety and excitement! I’m worried over securing my first post-graduate employment but I am so excited to see what comes next. I’ve spent tons of time working with my campus advisors and the Career Center to perfect my resume and cover letters, and I’ve already had a few interviews. The future is certainly bright from this angle and the truth is, I feel ready. I have learned and grown for 3 years in the ever-challenging yet infinitely supportive SOLES environment, and now it’s time to fly. I just need to pick my direction…
So let’s look at what it takes to make that next step after graduate school. Let’s call this my recipe for success, and it only calls for 3 ingredients: attitude, confidence, and preparation.
First off, attitude. You have to have the right attitude to move forward with your goals. You might be tired of being told to “stay positive” but the proof is in the pudding. If you keep yourself motivated and looking on the bright side, you’re training your brain to recognize new opportunities rather than dwell on missed ones. How do I know that? Positive psychology. As part of my counseling graduate program, I took a course on positive psych with Dr. Ana Estrada and I learned all about the study and practice of happiness. According to Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book The How of Happiness (2008), about 50% of our happiness comes from genetics (thanks, mom!), 10% comes from our circumstances (thanks, student debt!), and the remaining 40% depends entirely on what we do. Get that? We control a whole FORTY PERCENT of how happy we are or are not just by how we go about our day. So, by deciding to keep and practice my positive attitude, I am teaching my brain and emotions to always look for the opportunities in every situation. Bring on the possibilities!
Next up, confidence. You have to know you can and will be successful. This means believing in yourself and your abilities! My experience through SOLES has helped me find the confidence and self-efficacy necessary to move forward in my professional life. Now, more than ever, I believe in my ability to adapt, learn, grow, and contribute. Much of this confidence has come from my classes, where I established the foundation of knowledge necessary to start my professional development. Another huge factor has been my practicum experience: I’ve been working as a counseling intern at a psychiatric hospital for one year now and it has allowed me to see what all that education and training can do when put to work. I love the work that I do, and I know now more than ever that I can do it professionally!
Now third and finally, we need preparation. Staying positive and believing in myself are important, but nothing tops being prepared. Lucky for us, SOLES does an excellent job getting us ready for life after graduation. All of those classes and assignments and long nights studying are getting us ready for professional life. Then, of course, we supplement all that academic learning with fieldwork and advising and giving ourselves time and space to work on our personal development as well. It all prepares us to pursue our professional goals and our professional success. I may feel anxiety now over not knowing exactly what my next job will be, but I have no doubt that I will find a job. Furthermore, I am stress-free in the knowledge that I can and will be successful. SOLES students are widely regarded as knowledgeable and competent professionals across disciplines, and I am proud to join the ranks of successful SOLES graduates in just a few days.
All in all, being a SOLES graduate student is challenging, stressful, and often exhausting, but it’s worth it. We learn, we grow, we adventure, and we challenge. We pursue our dreams and become active and accomplished professionals in our fields. SOLES, and my CMHC program in particular, goes above and beyond to ensure that I and every other graduate student have every tool and resource we might need to pursue a lifetime of personal and professional development. I am grateful to the administrators, my professors, and my classmates for all that we have experienced and learned together, and I look forward to the many adventures that still lie ahead. Thank you to my old SOLES family, and welcome to the new one! Here’s to a happy summer for all of us!

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