I am a counselor first

Yes, my official title states college counselor. Yes, most of my conversations are geared around SAT’s, ACT’s, how to find the right school, how many AP classes should one take, managing expectations and preparing students for the ultimate season of college applications in the fall of their senior year.

But here’s the thing. I am a counselor first. Always have, always will be. Which means that while I’m turning on my computer to answer the hundreds of emails that piled up overnight, and while I’m stepping into a meeting with my administrators about curriculum, or a parent meeting or presenting a workshop on college essays, I step with a larger lens in mind.

A lens that ensures my students are happy and healthy. That the choices they are making will emulate happiness and healthiness. That regardless of the emails, the demand and the need for decoding college mania, I will always pause. It is when I pause, that I get a moment to remember that life is more than a college application. That my ultimate goal is to find the right path that will build a solid foundation for my students. And that path is guaranteed to never be straight or formulaic. I repeat, never formulaic.

I am a counselor first. And as a counselor it is not my role to choose for my students, to fix my students or step in as the parent. But it is my role to guide students throughout their formative years. To allow them to fail in a safe space and help them build the confidence in knowing that they themselves have stood back up, even taller than before.

It is my role to create boundaries, deadlines and expectations. And hold my kids to it. Because that will foster growth in a way that lends itself to confidence and responsibility. Because I am a counselor first. And that’s my ultimate role.

Published by Casey Barneson

Author of The College Wellness Guide. Beverly Hills High School College Counselor.

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