Have you ever believed you wanted something so much that you could not see your way past it? You believed that it was the only way you would be happy or successful. I have.
And I was utterly wrong.
I went back to college after going to work at a local high school to become a counselor. My course of study would allow me to be a school counselor or a clinical counselor or both. I was utterly convinced I wanted to be a school counselor.
There were so many kids who needed help and I wanted to be there to help them. Or so I believed with my whole heart and mind.
I loved working at the school. I sponsored a poetry club and started a literary arts magazine that was published yearly through fundraising and donations. I volunteered to work dances and sporting events. I worked in whatever capacity I was needed while going to school full time, doing counseling internships, and working part-time at a residential treatment facility.
I made friends there and formed bonds that are still there with many of the students and some of the staff. I believed that being a school counselor was the only job I wanted. It was the only road I wished to travel.
And I was completely wrong.
I finished my degrees, two of them, and my internships and waited for a school counseling opening at the school. The joyous day arrived when there was not only one opening there were two. I believed that this was going to be the culmination of all my hard work and desire.
After all, I had given so much of myself in the last seven years to this school and the people in it. How could this not be my dream come true?
I completed the application process and the interview panel. I felt good about my future. I was encouraged by other staff that all would be well and I would finally get the job I so desperately believed I wanted.
And I was unbelievably wrong.
I did not get either job that was open. I was absolutely crushed. I fell apart completely. I went to my car and sat in the parking lot for two hours crying and then I went home and cried for several more days. My dream was gone.
I felt like a complete failure. How could this happen and why? What was I going to do now? I felt that nothing I had done for the school, for my education, for myself had any value.
And I was absolutely wrong.
I picked myself up after I stopped crying and decided not to be defeated. I left the school two weeks later having given my notice and went to work full time at the residential facility for girls with severe trauma and addiction where I had been working part-time for my clinical counselor licensing hours.
I loved working with those girls. Their lives were the kinds of stories you see sometimes and cannot believe that such evil can be perpetrated on a child. They hated me and they loved me. But in so many of their lives, I made a difference. A difference that for some of them completely changed everything for them.
A little over a year later, I went into private practice full time seeing some of those same girls and many others from local middle and high schools along with adult women all with complex trauma. I was happy, fulfilled, and successful. I recently expanded my practice adding another therapist to serve even more people in our city.
I still make use of my school counseling license and education, so in a way, I am still a school counselor just not in a school.
It took me almost a year after that devastating day to realize that if I had gotten the job in the school, I would have been miserable and unfulfilled. School counselors in high school don’t have a lot of time to counsel kids in crisis. They spend a lot of time in meetings, doing scheduling, proctoring testing, and being involved in interpersonal drama at the school where I worked to have much time to see kids who really need it.
I would have been heartbroken to see a kid I knew needed help and have to tell them that I had to go to a meeting. Being a school counselor would not have worked for me.
So often we can convince ourselves that something we believe will make us happy is the only road to travel. Many times we learn that it is the road we never thought to travel that is the way to being truly happy and successful.
And I am ecstatic that I was wrong.
Sometimes it is completely okay to be wrong.
Until next time be well,