Why did you choose the field of School Counseling?
I want to become a school counselor because I have a desire to help people and I'm passionate about education. School counseling is the perfect union for me.
Why did you choose SOLES?
I heard about SOLES through the USD website. I chose to enroll after my interview. I loved the intimacy of the programs and the dedication of the faculty. The beautiful setting was also a nice plus!
Tell us about your field experiences through SOLES.
My practicum placement was at Springall Academy, which is a non-public school for children and adolescents with emotional/behavioral disorders and learning disabilities. It was an awesome, yet challenging, experience that pushed me out of my comfort zone and strengthened my confidence in my abilities as a counselor.
I am currently in my fieldwork and I am serving at College Preparatory Middle School in La Mesa. It is an incredible school! It is a very small school with less than 200 students and only 11 teachers. There is no school counselor on site, so I am busy trying to develop a program that fits the needs of the school. The teachers and administrators are so passionate about the children and families they work with.
Have you completed an international experience?
I went to Costa Rica in Summer 2012 with Dr. Ian Martin and 11 other students in the School Counseling Program. It was an amazing experience! Dr. Martin led our class in Career Development Across the Lifespan. We also took a Spanish immersion program, went hiking, visited an eco-farm, went white-water rafting, visited a national park, and assisted a local elementary school.
Which class impacted you the most?
My Multicultural Counseling class taught by Dr. Erika Cameron was an incredible experience. Professionally, it was so helpful to learn more about interacting with different cultures and populations. Personally, it made me think about the ways in which I view cultures and my relationship to different cultures. The class was challenging, but very rewarding.
Are there specific SOLES faculty and administrators that you feel have contributed to your success?
Dr. Erika Cameron is a professor that I have learned so much from. She is a great resource and person to ask questions, as well as an excellent educator. Peggy Hetherington is one of my favorite people that I have met through my experience at USD so far. She is always ready to help the students. She does a great job of working with us to determine the best possible placements for us. I have had some incredible experiences and opportunities, and Peggy has been the person who has helped me find them. Dr. Ian Martin is my adviser and I feel so fortunate because I feel like he always has my best interests in mind. He is easy to talk to and bounce ideas off of. He is truly passionate about what he does and it's so evident in his actions. I know that I will continue to stay in touch with Dr. Martin long after I graduate from USD.
What are your plans for after graduation?
After I graduate, I want to find a job where I can use my counseling skills to help children and/or families! I'm open to the setting, whether it be non-profit, school, medical, or social services agency. My dream job is one where I feel useful and I am able to help people as much as I can.
Do you have any advice for prospective students?
My biggest piece of advice is to take full advantage of every opportunity offered to you! Read all the emails that are sent you before you hit delete. I have found a job and an awesome volunteer opportunity through the mass emails that are sent out. Don't bite off more than you can chew, but don't limit yourself because you're afraid of being busy. Graduate school is a time to develop yourself to the best of your abilities. I'm incredibly busy, but I love everything that I do and I know that it will benefit me, both personally and professionally.
Connect with me!
Rachel is a Student Ambassador for the School of Leadership and Education Sciences! Rachel is available to speak with prospective students at many of our Open Houses and Information Sessions. If you are not able to attend an event but would still like to connect with Rachel about her student experience, contact SOLES Admissions and Outreach or check out her entries on our Admissions Blog.