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Jennifer Palese

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You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him find it within himself.
~ Galileo.


   My path to choosing a career as a school counselor has been marked by a series of experiences, each of which has built off of the previous, and convinced me that school counseling is an excellent fit for my strengths, interests, and life goals. From working as an Access Opportunity Tutor catering to disadvantaged college students, to a post-college experience as a counselor in the field of insurance, my passion for helping individuals grapple with the decisions that will significantly impact their future goals has been unwavering. There are few sources of inspiration greater than the sense of recognition that appears on a students face when he or she has finally grasped a difficult concept. Greater still is being in a position to assist a student with using that self-knowledge to move forward with a new life goal.
  
       In conjunction with my role of Access Opportunity Tutor, being in a position to make recommendations to students about classes and majors that appeared to be matched to their strengths and interests was enormously rewarding. My work in insurance counseling was another profound source that provided insight into how satisfying it can be to assist an individual by listening closely to his or her needs and helping to craft an insurance package tailored to meet those needs. The counselor component of those learned skills enhanced my listening and problem solving skills, and will transfer well into the world of school counseling. I firmly believe obtaining a position in school counseling would enable me to pursue a career that essentially allows me to earn a livelihood for doing something that has always brought me great pleasure and satisfaction.   
 
   My current and past work as a tutor has greatly contributed to my conviction that a career in school counseling will provide me with a profound degree of professional and personal satisfaction.  The student I presently tutor has been struggling with her course work over the past year.   When I received notice of the available position, I immediately committed myself to helping this student. I discovered that through patience, guidance, and encouragement, almost anything is possible.  Over the past few months, the student has improved her academic performance and developed scholastic goals.   Her father informed me that my relaxed, open manner provided his daughter with a safe sounding board for exploring obstacles and realizing future aspirations.  In addition to helping this student recognize and attain her goals, I discovered I immensely enjoyed working with adolescent individuals.   It  helped me realize that adolescents are still impressionable and have the power to lead their life in whatever direction they see fit.  I feel I would be most effective in reaching adolescents in a school setting;  thus I feel the superlative way to reach them is by furthering my education, which will enable me the opportunity to get into the field and work with adolescents in a counseling setting.   I am very committed to pursing my Master in Education in Guidance & Counseling.  It is what I want to do with my life, and build a career.
   
 A recent one-on-one information session with a current school counselor solidified my goal. I asked the counselor a wide variety of questions about her role, including questions related to what she liked least about her position. In gaining a clear, unbiased picture of what a day in the life of a school counselor entails, I left our meeting with an even greater sense of inner confidence that I am headed down a path that is ideally suited for me.   Concurrently, I recognized how deeply I value and strive to practice the training objectives of the Teachers College Psychological Counseling curriculum.  The five objectives are vital to the development of a successful psychological counselor, and will work synergistically with my past experiences toward my personal development and professional objectives.   Whether it be working with students like those I assisted through the Access Opportunity Program, who are not on a level playing field with the other students in their class, or more traditional students, I look forward to a career that will, in Galileos terms, enable me to assist my future students define their dreams, and choose educational and career paths within themselves.  



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