As previously mentioned, I have finally decided what my career shall be. What I know in my heart I was meant to do all along. I am going to be a marriage & family counselor.
When I first had this epiphany & realized this is what I wanted to do, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! I wanted to share it with the world. I was overcome with glee, because I had spent my entire life, mildly excited about a career, because I hadn't yet discovered my passion! Now, I felt it in the depths of my soul. In my core, I knew & still know I am going to be a counselor.
As I went shouting from the rooftops, the naysayers did follow. "Well, you don't even have a family of your own, what do you know about counseling others?" "You're going to start on a new degree & completely change careers?" "You know how hard that is going to be?" "You know how much of a thankless job that will be?" Oh, the comments went on & on, but not once, not even once have I doubted myself. Not with this.
It's true, at that time, I was a single, 20-something who seemed to know as much about marriage & family counseling as the next guy. Nevertheless, just because I don't already contain the knowledge, wisdom & education it takes to fill this position, doesn't mean I won't in the future. Also, I'm not oblivious to the fact that this career will test me like I have never been tested before. It will cause me to face demons I may not even know I have. It will shake me to my core for situations I have no control over. Oh yes, I know it isn't going to be easy, but I also know, I would not be fulfilling my purpose if I didn't give this everything I've got!
While still living in KC I even found a school that met all of my criteria. I was beyond stoked. I submitted all of my admission's paperwork in record time & anxiously awaited the interview date they had given me. It was a small Christian school, which was only accepting 12 applicants to their program. I was intimidated, but felt good, because I knew God was leading me. I arrived to the day-long interview to find there were 81 total applicants for those 12 spots. Still, I held my ground. A number of signs had pointed me to this school & if God said it was so, then it was so.
Two weeks went by before I received the notice in the mail, informing me all of the spots had been filled, & I was encouraged to apply for the following semester. As I nursed my wounded spirit, a little piece of me couldn't help but rejoice, thinking this means something better is in my future! That extra boost of optimism happened to come from the fact that I had started talking to my now-husband about a month prior to that interview. Months had led up to that interview and the preparation. However, immediately after I started talking with hubs, I thought this might be the one. Only thing is, I was committing myself to 2 years in Kansas, and he was already in Chicago.
I refused to give anything less than my all in that interview because I felt so sure God wanted me to be there. Later, I decided God was continuing to fuel my passion and dedication toward my goal, as He prepared me for my future. All the while, I was taking as many courses in psychology as possible at the community college I was working for. Never knowing, they would all come into play, but at a different institution. As you know, I have now married that amazing man and moved to Chicago. Now, the last piece of this puzzle seems to be fitting into place.
When I looked for jobs in Chicago, I was focused on finding a college I could easily transition to, since I had been working as a Financial Aid counselor ever since I had graduated. It was only after I started, that I began looking through our school's degree programs. I already knew it was a Christian school, but I discovered they also had my master's program, which was even more closely aligned with my goals than the previous school's program. On top of that, they had the elite accreditation I wanted my alma mater to have. That accreditation opens doors for practicing in multiple states. Since you must have state licensure, often counselors have to further their education when they move to a new area. However, this generally supersedes any requirements and ensures a counselor's eligibility to practice in any state. The biggest Blessing is that 80% of my tuition is covered since I work for the institution. I don't know where the good Lord may take me in the future, but for right now, I know I am exactly where I'm supposed to be.