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I have decided to take a full year off before grad school.

I’ve mentioned a few times here that I’m graduating with my undergrad, at long last, in December. I’ve been busting my ass trying to do grad school program research and get my applications in order, as most of them are due in December for fall ‘18 admission.

I sat in on a webinar for one such program on Monday night, and then went into my therapists office the next day and just busted out crying. I’ve been so stressed out, chasing the carrot these past four years trying to prove myself and make it through school. Neither of my parents finished college, and for a long time I never thought that I would truly be in a place where I’d make it through any kind of degree program due to depression/anxiety/PTSD stuff I have dealt with for most of my life.

I think a big part of why I didn’t do well trying to go to college immediately after getting out of high school was because I had little guidance from family or teachers about what I needed to do to be successful. Also, I was still swimming through mental health struggles, and trying to make sense of how to be a healthy and productive person, one who could take care of general life things that I hadn’t been taught or shown how to do.


Anyway, I went back to school in 2013 and worked at least 30 hours a week while taking full-time classes for the first five semesters. Even though I was really busy all the time I made it through community college with great grades and transferred to a good quality state school. I have loved my time here, I love studying counseling and social sciences, and I’m feeling really confident that what I want to do in long term is get my PhD in counseling psych, and specialize in counselor education and ethics. I want to help teach the next generations of mental health professionals, so that they’re well trained, confident, culturally sensitive, and fully capable of practicing in safe and non-oppressive ways.

I think knowing that this is what I want to do, and that there still a long road ahead of me has made me want to hurry up and dive headfirst into grad school, and there had also been this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me that I’m running out of time. I’m 29, which I know is not old by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t feel particularly young either, and I want to get down to the business of learning what I need to in order to fulfill my goals.

The fact of the matter is that I’m worn out and my classes this term are kicking my butt in terms of workload. I want to focus on getting good grades and enjoying the last few months that I have here, planning my graduation party, and then taking a breather and being able to carefully chart out my next steps starting in the new year. I can look at admittance for the spring of 2019, take the GRE with more time to prep and relax a little. I also went to do some traveling, and see if I can learn some Spanish. I’m crossing my fingers that I can find maybe an entry level job in a psych related field, maybe at one of the hospitals or behavioral health clinics in town, or even something at the University. I’m planning on staying in this town for the next year, and ideally I would do my masters there as well, because they have one of the best counseling programs in the nation. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that with y’all, groupthink has been very supportive of me throughout my educational journey and I’m glad I’ve settled on a direction for the next year or so. I’m excited to have the time off to look forward to, and to be starting this new chapter. I’m turning 30 in a few months and a period of reflection and rest before I take my next jump forward sounds like a good place to start my next decade on the planet.

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