Reflecting on Redirecting

By Sabrina Bong — During my undergraduate years, I worked at a retail job to help pay for expenses. I would often spend my summers ringing up people’s purchases, talking to them about the humid weather and whatever major news event happened to be going on. And in early August, talk always turned from the weather and news to the back-to-school season. Parents would stock up on looseleaf, pencils, and washable markers, much to the chagrin of their children. By the time the families would arrive at my checkout line, the parents would look absolutely exhausted, the children angry, and both appeared to have reached the end of their wits.

Surprisingly, however, this experience in retail  did not dampen my spirits on the back-to-school chaos. (In fact, it’s still my favorite season.) Nor did it spoil my love of Christmas.

In fact, I believe retail made me appreciate the holiday season all the more. I would come home from work and sit next to the Christmas tree, reveling in the tranquility of being at home. I would think about how blessed I was to be at home, with my family, away from the chaos and arguing that usually happened at the store.

The same could be said about graduate school. There is chaos. There are surprises. On occasion, there were times when I looked at all the papers and presentations I had to do and just wanted to run away from them. During finals, I struggled to prioritize my studying. Some of these experiences could’ve poisoned my idea of graduate school. But it is during times of tranquility and quiet that I appreciate everything more. Now that I am out of the whirlwind that is finals, I can look back on everything and smile at all that happened.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be attending Marquette as a graduate student. I am thankful to be pursuing a degree in something I truly love. I am blessed to be learning with some of the most outstanding soon-to-be counselors. And I feel lucky that I have teachers who love what they do and teach with passion and enthusiasm.

I wish that every student had this opportunity: to pursue a higher degree and learn from people who are passionate about their topic. I realize that in today’s world, this possibility is becoming more of a dream and less of a reality. With tuition prices rising, and people struggling to find jobs, more and more students are unable to pursue their dreams and attend college.

This is why I decided to become a counselor. I want to be able to give students all the opportunities that I had in elementary and high school. I had school counselors who pushed me to apply for scholarships, challenged me to take AP classes, and educated me on financial aid, the college application process, and the major transition between high school and college. I want to do the same for others someday. I hope to pay it forward.

Take the time today to remember what is important in life. Hope everyone has a happy holiday!

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