“How are you?” This is the text message I get from my mother last Saturday.
Now, most people probably wouldn’t think this is weird. But my mom’s not much of a small-talk conversation texter, and she hates talking on the phone just as much as I do (and I wonder where I got it from). Uh oh, is something wrong? I debate ignoring the text and waiting to talk to her in-person during the week (after all, if it was urgent, she would call, right? There’s the rationalization defense mechanism for ya), but I was too curious to know the meaning behind those three words on my phone.
“Thanks for that detailed update on your recent major life changes!”
Last Tuesday was my last day on the job.
Let’s go back to March of 2011. I was 22, had not heard back from any graduate programs, and was in a state of constant anxiety about the next phase of life while simultaneously denying that my senior year of college was coming to an end. Desperately attempting to find alternate solutions and avoid moving back in with my parents (no offense to my dear ol’ mom and dad), I obsessively patrolled the job boards. And one day, I found a hidden gem on Craigslist.
I was walking out of the stadium, clad in a cap and gown, when my father yelled “GET A JOB!” from the stands. While my dad was only kidding (here’s hoping anyway), it illustrated the pressure and necessity of getting a job as soon as possible after graduation. Maybe you’re taking a summer position or working at your part-time job you had in graduate school. Or maybe you were lucky enough to land a full-time, paid position at your internship and be the envy of everyone in your graduating class. Or maybe you decided, “hey, writing a dissertation sounds fun, maybe I’ll spend my next 5-7 years in a Ph.D/Psy.D program!” (If I wasn’t so burnt out from school, I’d envy you all). Or perhaps you were smart and started applying for jobs in February and got one before you graduated. In any case, this life cycle is primarily intended for those of us who are not currently in school or employed full-time.
Last week, my name was called, and as I walked across the stage, I received a Master’s of Philosophy in Education. A couple days later, I woke up disturbingly early, put on my cap and gown, stormed down to the field with 6,000 other graduates, heard the vice president speak, and had my degree officially conferred. This past week has been a whirlwind of celebration and emotion. As I begin to finally hunker down and email my CV to every open position I can find, I reflect on what I’ve gotten out of these past two years. While I’ve learned specific techniques and facts regarding the counseling profession, there has been an abundance of life lessons that I hope will get me towards LPC licensure and beyond.