As I sit here reflecting on my life, I can’t help but smile because of where I am. When I was at Grand Valley, living in Michigan, and working at Pizza Hut, I had no idea what I was going to do with a psychology degree. I didn’t think I was smart enough to get my Masters and even if I wanted to, I had no idea what I would have gotten it in.
Then Ryan enters my life. Because of him, I left my home state, the only state I had ever lived in, to follow him to Wyoming. It may not have been the best idea, because we broke up less than a year after I moved to be with him. Looking back, I think I always knew it wasn’t going to last, but I was hopeful. I decided to stay in Torrington, however. I had a good job, I felt like I was making a difference in children’s lives, and I had made some good friends. I was living so far away from my parents, my home, and my comfort… but I was succeeding. I was living on my own and I was making it. It felt good. However, it was there that I really started struggling with depression and with the encouragement from some coworkers, I decided to start therapy. I didn’t know where to start, but someone recommended the person that would become my therapist. What an incredible man who is great at what he does. I was SO nervous to start that first session, but, again, I jumped out of my comfort zone and went. What a help it was. What a great feeling to go talk to someone, someone who didn’t know me, someone who wouldn’t judge me. I went to see him regularly and it was such a help to me. Then, after living out there for a couple of years, I was encouraged to apply to school to start my Master’s program in counseling. I definitely did not think I was smart enough to do it and was almost certain I was not going to be accepted… however, I applied. I was accepted into the program. What?! Me?! Getting a Master’s degree?? Who would have ever thought!! I was on academic probation for my first year due to my undergrad GPA not being high enough, but I was motivated to get the grades I needed to to get off of probation. With the help of friends in the program with me, I was able to be successful. I was getting grades I never thought I’d ever get. Grades I certainly didn’t get while doing my undergrad work. I was feeling very proud of myself. I was working full time at a very stressful and demanding job, while doing school. I got through all of my classes and it was time to start my practicum. Like those I worked with that were also in the program, it was only natural to want to do my practicum at St. Joes, since I was working there anyway. I was able to do that and got Nancy as my supervisor. She was wonderful and taught me so much. I had one client that I was doing individual and family therapy for, along with observing and helping in different groups. It was my first taste of being an actual counselor and I was scared and felt inadequate. However, I had amazing support and guidance. I got through my practicum and then it was time to get things in order for my internship. When I first started my Master’s program, I assumed and planned on doing my internship at St. Joes as well. However, other things were in store for me. I talked with the clinical supervisor at St. Joes, assuming I was going to be told I was able to do my internship there, only to be told that kid numbers were down and there wouldn’t be enough work for me to do my internship there. I was devastated and scared. What was I going to do? Where would I do my internship? I thought about the prison in Torrington, however, I really wanted to continue my work with children. It looked like I was going to have to move somewhere to do it… but where would I go? At that time, I had been in a long distance relationship with someone in Sheridan. Four hours away from Torrington. It was awful not being able to see him regularly. I hated only being able to see him for a weekend a month. It was difficult to plan times because we had different work schedules. I felt like this relationship was going to go somewhere, so I started looking for places to do my internship in Sheridan and near there. I got on the internet and started emailing people and sending in resumes. I didn’t hear back from many places, but I did hear back from on in Buffalo. It was a private practice and it was working a lot with children. It definitely caught my interest. It took a little while, but finally I was able to connect with Rose and we met at Starbucks in Sheridan for a chat. I felt hopeful but I still had to wait. I still had to meet and talk with Jamie. What if this didn’t work out?? What would I do then? Luckily, it all worked out, and I feel like I am where I am supposed to be.
I was able to quit St. Joes after working there for 5 years. What an incredible experience that was. I learned so much that will be able to help me continue working with children. I am so thankful for the job I had there and the great people I met because of it. I was so excited to be moving to Buffalo, to be only a half an hour away from Steven, and to start something new. However, the Steven thing did not work out, as he broke up with me, THROUGH TEXT, a few weeks before I was supposed to move to Buffalo. What the heck was I going to do now? I had already quit my job, I planned on starting my internship at the end of August, but I couldn’t move to a city where I knew no one and my only contact was no longer in the picture, could I?! I could… In August 2015, I moved to Buffalo, scared out of my mind, knowing no one and starting a new job that I had very little experience in. Little did I know at the time, it was the greatest move I had ever made. As sad as I was that Steven and I did not work out, it was because of him that I moved up here and for that I am forever grateful. I started my internship and I couldn’t have asked for a better supervisor. I had opportunities to sit in on supervision with her, Jamie, and Byron. I have learned experiential play therapy and sand play therapy. I have had a wide age range of clients and put out of my comfort zone. I have worked with 3 year old children and 66 year old adults and everything in between. I have had a couple of high school aged girls which was a major leap out of my comfort zone. I have been so blessed to learn, learn, and continue to learn. So the only thing standing between me and graduating with my Master’s degree was getting all of my internship hours, doing my portfolio, and my orals. Getting my hours was no problem. We were busy. I had a lot of clients and I was loving it. I got my portfolio done and scheduled my orals and oh my goodness was I nervous for them!! However, I had reassurance from people who had taken them before me and my day came and went. I passed and they were not as bad as I thought they were going to be. I had done it. I had completed my schooling career at Chadron State College and I was going to be getting my Master’s degree. I was in awe of myself, my accomplishments and how far I had come in my life. I felt proud.
So here I am now. Still in Buffalo. Provisionally licensed and busy. I still have so many learning opportunities available to me and thanks to Rose, I am making those a reality. I will be traveling with her to South Africa in September. I am scared about that, but beyond excited. It is going to be an incredible experience and I am going to learn everything that I can. I love Buffalo and the clients I am working with. I am also dating the most incredible person. I am happy. I am happy with the sad times in my life that have gotten me to where I am now. I am happy with my job. I am happy with my relationship. I am looking forward to what is to come and I am able to jump into scary situations because of all that I have done so far. I am so thankful for the support I have from my family and friends. I don’t know if I would be where I am if I didn’t have them encouraging me along the way.