Welcome back to the 2013-2014 academic year! I hope your summer was restful and fulfilling. As the first day of school begins for New York City public schools, I thought the following piece was a great place to begin our work this year, as a reminder of why we “do this work”! Sometimes we need reminding as the year goes on and their are sometimes unsurmountable obstacles for our students as well as us. I will be reaching out to all the volunteers and counselors this week as we begin the year………..many thanks for all the hard work you do.
Featured story from CollegeWeek Live:
Day in the Life of a Counselor
Jose Gutierrez, Counselor
Ventura Community College
As a counselor I have the privilege of working with a wide spectrum of students—transfer, re-entry, and non-traditional students visit my office every day.
A few weeks ago I met a young lady who wanted to return to college after taking a break from her studies. She was a DREAM Act student who didn’t know where to begin. When I asked her what inspired her return, she mentioned she was tired of working in the strawberry fields and dreamed of working indoors with a better wage.
She was young, articulate, driven, and very motivated to return. She was also living on her own and was willing to reduce her work hours to prioritize her studies. Her academic career was not going to be easy but she was willing to try. DREAM Act students in California are eligible for in-state tuition and grants if they meet certain requirements. Together we mapped out her courses, reviewed her goals, and discussed financial aid resources.
Later, I met another undocumented young man who was filing his graduation application for his associate degree. He was super excited and couldn’t believe he was ready to transfer. His next step was to work and save money because tuition and books were going to be more expensive at the university.
In the same day I met two students with similar backgrounds and challenges. One was on his way to transferring, while the other was ready to begin she left off. I often say that I learn more from my students than they do from me. Both of my students shared similar struggles, but also similar hopes. Being a counselor serves an important role for students, but even more important is the opportunity I receive when my students allow me to share their journey and help support their narratives in positive ways.