When I was six years old, I wanted to be a teacher.
By the time I was eight or nine years old, I would read my mom's parenting magazines for fun, because I thought it was interesting to learn about kids at different ages and stages.
Despite my shyness, I began performing in choir when I was in fourth grade, and I tried out for my first school play in seventh grade. Throughout the rest of middle school and high school, I continued acting and singing, and I became more and more comfortable with being in front of an audience.
In high school, I loved my school counselor, and I thought I might like to become one myself eventually.
At the age of eighteen, I became a parent, started college, and began taking child development and sociology classes. All together, this led me to developing an interest in working with teen parents and their children.
When my oldest son was in preschool, he was diagnosed with developmental delays and possible autism, and I quickly became acquainted with IEPs and therapies.
Around the same time, I also immersed myself in learning everything I could about positive discipline and emotional intelligence, because these were very important in being the kind of parent I wanted to be.
In my early-to-mid-twenties, I applied for a master's program in social work because I wanted to work with people who were in poverty. I was accepted and ended up deciding not to go because I was pregnant with my second child.
And then I had a third child after that.
Now here I am, thirty years old, pursuing my master's degree in school counseling. And as I am reading the book Engaging Students With Poverty in Mind, it hits me that so many of my past interests and experiences have been leading to this.
School counseling is a perfect area for my passions, knowledge, interests, and experiences to intersect. Look back over those things that I mentioned. I will be teaching classroom guidance lessons, which would make my six year old self very happy. I will be putting my nearly lifelong interest in child development to use, as well as my knowledge about positive discipline and connecting with children as I work with kids, parents, and teachers. I will be working with kids who have special needs and IEPs. I will be working with kids who are in poverty, and I will be working with teen parents and their children. Even my performance experiences are coming in handy, as they helped prepare me for getting over the nerves that come with speaking in front of classrooms. And there's so much more, so many experiences that have helped prepare me for this.
I am so excited to finally see how all of these interests and experiences are coming together. In the fall, I will begin my school counseling internships, and in May of 2015 I will graduate with my master's degree. I can't wait to begin working as a school counselor. This is truly where I am meant to be.