Advice to Incoming Counseling Students

downloadBy Christie Hyland — My first year in the clinical mental health counseling master’s program has really flown by—I’ve learned so much in such a short span of time.

It seems like yesterday that I was attending orientation, learning more about the program and getting advice from second year students. I thought I would use this post as an opportunity to share some advice with incoming first year students that would’ve been helpful to me starting out.

  1. It’s normal to feel anxiety!

My practicum experience at Marquette was my first clinical experience. Needless to say, I was nervous about practicing counseling for the first time in class. I felt anxiety—as a beginner, I often felt as though I didn’t know what I was doing. But this is totally normal! Many of your classmates will also likely be beginner counselors. You will go through the learning process together with great support from your peers and the faculty.

  1. Make time for yourself.

If you don’t, you might experience burnout. Grad school comes with a bigger workload than most undergrad programs, with more reading and more difficult assignments. Not only are you juggling a full-time course load, but you’ll be spending time at practicum as well. Scheduling time for yourself, or as you will learn is termed “self-care,” is super important. Make the time to do things for yourself, whether it be finding time to relax, exercise, read for pleasure, or hang out with friends.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

One great thing about being in a counseling program is that the faculty are all really excellent helpers! If you don’t feel comfortable approaching faculty with questions or concerns, any of the second year students would be glad to help as well.  I have always felt supported by the people I have met while at Marquette, which has really made a positive impact on my experience.

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