If you have been following the MSPP student blog for the Counseling program over this past year, you will probably recognize me (or at least my writing style)! Originally, I had wrapped up blogging at the end of the summer, but I was just asked to continue writing about my school, internship, and personal experiences over the course of my second year.

To catch you up to speed if you are a new reader, I began the Counseling program in fall 2009 as a full time student and I will be graduating (if all goes according to plan) this June, 2011.  Last year, I worked at a college in Office of Wellness Education doing substance use assessments with students and psychoeducational outreach events on campus.  I had a WONDERFUL experience working with the college population and I had a helpful and enthusiastic supervisor, which definitely made the experience even more enjoyable and valuable.

Over the summer, I took courses (which is a requirement of the program) and then I had about a month-long vacation, which was greatly needed!  I’m a big advocator of self-care, so I took time to visit family and then I traveled out west to the Rocky Mountains.  I know that my classmates and I were feeling fairly burnt out at the end of the intensive summer session, so it was refreshing to have a little downtime before starting up with my second year.

I was excited to start classes again in September, and I can already tell that the semester is going to fly-by.  Right now I am taking all of my classes on Mondays (9AM-6:20PM) so it feels like a LONG day! We have an hour for lunch and a few other breaks during the day, so it is always rejuvenating to sit and chat with friends.  I feel as though I have become significantly closer with all of the people in my program, especially because with each new semester comes new classmates.  This semester is also interesting for me because I have new professors whom I did not have in my first year.

So far, I am really enjoying my professors’ teaching styles.  I am taking 3 courses: Consultation and Collaboration, Multi-stressed Families, and an Internship Seminar.  One professor firmly believes that you learn best by doing, so we have done role-plays to become more familiar with different counseling techniques.  I find this helpful because it forces me to practice the technique, and I almost always come up with questions that I would not have had if I just sat and listened to a lecture and read the textbook.

I think that my clinical seminar is a pretty special class.  The students and professor make it feel like a really supportive and safe space where I can talk about any difficulties at my internship, or challenges I am having with clients.

One thing that I was not expecting this semester is to feel so exhausted within the first month.  Between school, my new second-year internship, a babysitting job, and a club lacrosse team, I am BUSY BUSY BUSY!  I think that it may take me a couple more weeks to fully adjust to my new schedule.  But one thing is for sure, I already feel like a more competent clinician than I did at the end of the summer session, and it is only one month into the semester!

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