Here is the saga of me trying to do a Masters program. If you or anyone you know needs any advice on Masters programs in counselling, I have inside knowledge of several different programs. I started 3 different programs and have yet to finish any of them! I am not exactly sure how it all turned out this way. In some ways I feel a bit sorry that I haven’t finished any of the programs. But I do also remember that sometimes this is the way it goes.
Here is the story:
I started my Masters in January, 2012. The program I was doing was through Lehigh University. It was Masters of Education in International Counselling. I did four courses, two online and two on location in Athens, Greece. This program required me to complete a practicum of about 20 hours per week while I was also working full time. I felt like I was not going to be able to do this in the situation I was in at the time. After finishing the fourth course, I earned a Graduate Certificate and then decided to change to a different program.
In the summer of 2013, I started a new program at Athabasca University. It is an online university in Calgary, Alberta. The new program was a Masters of Counselling, focusing on Counselling Psychology. In the summer I completed an orientation course. In the fall of 2014 and the winter of 2015, I completed three courses. This program also required a practicum. I was not sure I was able to or interested in completing it. The following summer of 2014, I chose to not take a course and I was planning to continue in the fall of 2014.
In the fall of 2014, I again chose to not take any courses and then decided to switch programs again into the University of Missouri. This time the program was Masters of Education in Educational, School, and Counselling Psychology with an emphasis in Educational Psychology and a focus on Student Learning and Well-being. In this program, after the various events of the year, I completed one course. This program does not require a practicum, which was what I was looking for so that I could do all the courses at home and just finish it. Probably not the best attitude towards doing a Masters!
Where I stand right now: I just completed the one course I did with the University of Missouri. I feel a mixture of relief and elation. I am so glad I did it. I am so glad it is done. And I am so glad I don’t have to do anymore right now. For now I will wait. I am not completely dismissing the idea of finishing but I am also not going to continue right now. I am looking forward to some time without coursework and homework and readings and papers hanging over my head. I will enjoy the break and see what the future will hold. Maybe the time will be right next year or in 5 years or never.
In the past couple of years, some of the events of life have made doing my Masters harder, including leaving one country and moving to another, planning a wedding and getting married, and also the accident my parents were involved in earlier this year.
Motivation is key!
I am also trying to figure out my level of motivation. When I started I was very keenly motivated and highly desired studying and learning about counselling. I felt that I had found my next calling and career. I was very passionate. As I have carried on throughout the courses I have done, I am still loving the learning. I am still passionate but not as much. It has been hard to describe and figure out for myself. Do I want to be a counsellor? Or do I just want to learn about it? Or at this point, do I just want to give up on it?
For a person who likes to have a handle on how I feel about things, I find this kind of annoying. I think part of what I am feeling is that I don’t like giving up on something in the middle of it. I have started this Masters and I should finish it. I can’t just stop. But I also need to be realistic and know how I feel. I can stop because I can choose what I am going to do. I don’t have to do something just because I don’t want to allow myself to stop. This is a hard thing to accept for myself.
Then there was the desire to do something different. I had been teaching the same subject to the same grade level for ten years. I was getting a bit tired of it. But I have now had a break from it for half a year and I am not sure I am so desperate to do something very different now. The thought of going back to work sometime and having to start in a brand new position and learn about it all is kind of tiring. Maybe going back to something that I am familiar with would be okay. Especially since I have had a break. Maybe I will eventually go back to a different grade level to make things just a little different but somewhat the same too.
Who knows? Maybe I will never go back to teaching. Maybe I will never finish my Masters. Maybe I will. Maybe I will continue writing this blog and I will be able to have lots and lots of people reading it. (So share it with all your friends if you like it)! I am open to the possibilities of various adventures. But for now, I will enjoy whatever it is that I am doing and look forward to a very big new adventure coming our way in December.
Before I finish this story, I want emphasise the importance of education. I am not intending to complain. I have loved all the courses I have done and information I have learned. When I am interested in the subject and I get to read about it or write about it, I feel engaged and in “flow”. I am grateful for the incredible opportunities that I have had to further my education. I know that there are many people in the world who do not have access to the high level of education that I have had and I wish that was not the case. I am truly thankful.