It’s hard for me to believe that I’m officially into my second year of my 3.3 year program of graduate studies in counseling. This semester, I’m taking a course that many consider pivotal in the sense that it is foundational to the culminating experience of the program. Contrary to what one might think, it’s not the practicum, but comes after the practicum: producing a publish-ready research article. The course I’m taking now is about how to do psychological research (both qualitative and quantitative studies). So this course is essential to being able to complete the final course… even though that is 2 years away!
In the midst of this course, though, I had to take some time to look after a health issue, and right now I’m recovering from a surgical procedure that needed to be done for diagnostic purposes. It’s given me time to breathe, time to reflect and think about my school work, and about putting balance into my life: home, work, school, and hopefully volunteering.
Through a friend who volunteers her time, I managed to get in touch with someone who operates a not-for-profit center for young mothers at risk. The organization offers life skills instruction, low-cost baby supplies and clothing, and counseling to pregnant mothers and mothers of toddlers and young children. At this point, I am seriously considering putting in about 3 hours a week volunteering at this place, getting to know the clientele, teaching some cooking perhaps, so that I can perhaps provide some counseling to them if they need it. It will mean that I need to re-jig my hours at work, but I’m starting to see a way clear to do that. I’ve had a few discussions with the Executive Director and she has asked me to stop by.
Part of me wonders if I’m not biting off more than I can chew. However, if I am busy, perhaps I can budget my time more appropriately and ‘work smarter.’ It doesn’t sound like something that would be overwhelming. And I might get to connect with people a bit more, which could prove to be rewarding! The mentors in my program tell me that it is a good idea to get some counseling experience before I start my practicum – and since that will start in less than a year, I think that it might be good for me to get my proverbial feet wet.
Once I do that, I can tweak my professional c.v., and start casting around for a practicum site, which must be set up and approved by my university before May 1, 2017. I had a meeting last month with a local representative of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, and she suggested some quality sites for me to look into. So that will keep me busy the next little while, as well as my assignments in this course – and work – and family most certainly.
Even though life has been kind of closing in on me with all the extra stuff on my plate, I think that it’s just that my world is expanding so much that it only feels as though I have less mental and emotional space. Still, I am learning to practice self-care and I plan to make it a part of the every day. And at this moment, I am not sure exactly what form that will take! All I DO know is that I’m on my way and that the path ahead goes farther than I can see.