This past semester I was blessed with the opportunity to teach a college course called “Psychology as a Profession and Practice.” (I know. They trust me with teaching the next generation of bright minds. Shocker, right?) I essentially teach psychology majors about specific careers in the field and how to obtain those positions.
Last week, I took class time to help students with their job and/or graduate school application packets (i.e. resumes, cover letters, personal essays). I somehow managed to scrounge up my old documents from the blackhole titled “My Documents.” Deep down on my list was the folder “Grad School Documents.” A student asked about what a personal essay looks like. I pulled mine up on the big projector screen.
I showed the class how the essay embodied who I was in three to four paragraphs and how I tried to separate myself from other applicants. I started breaking the essay down paragraph by paragraph. The introduction was a typical eye-catching summary to set myself apart. The second paragraph was the start of “the meat.” One line in particular caught my attention while scanning it.
“I want to apply my education in conjunction with my personality and life experiences to the practice of psychology and corresponding research. I definitely want to continue into one of two areas: private practice or professor.”
I smiled. You have to understand I wrote this essay circa 2011/2012, and now I read it for the first time in nearly a decade. It felt like I was looking at my ambitious past self who wanted to accomplish so much. Back then, it felt like so much, and I knew the steps I needed to take to achieve even one of the two. We were talking about multiple standardized tests, research experience, licensure, three years of supervised counseling experience, and some serious networking. It felt like so much and so far away.
However, here I was, looking up at that screen. It flooded me with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Ten long years. Not only did I accomplish one of the two, but I did both! Definitely a feeling worth holding onto and a reminder that the hard work paid off.
-The Caring Counselor