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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Day 8: Gratitude List

Below is my five-item gratitude list for the school counselor self-care challenge.

1) My Family
My mom and I are very close. She is super supportive of me. When I was younger she told me to do something I loved. She said that you spend most of your time working, so you want to make sure it's something you're excited to wake up and do every day. She supported me through all the stress and excitement of grad school and continues to do so in my job search. Sometimes my brother and I disagree about things. We can be very different from each other. When we aren't disagreeing, I know I'm lucky to have him. We agree about the important things anyway... like Disney World is the happiest place on earth.

2) My Cats
In 2014, I was going through a particularly stressful time at Lehigh. Cats were born under our porch. Their mother abandoned them. We felt bad for them and gave them water and then food. They started to come in to our home and eventually became part of our family. We made them indoor cats and gave them a home. There were four cats born, but one of them wasn't hanging around with the rest. We took in three cats which I named Pebbles, Bam-Bam, and Dino after the Flintstones. They had been spayed and neutered as part of a Trap Neuter Return program. I love my cats more than anything. They helped me get through all the stresses of grad school. Bam-Bam ran away for five days over Thanksgiving break in 2015, but we managed to catch him on our porch. Dino, our quietest cat, got sick a year ago. She was diagnosed with Feline Infectious Peritonitis and Toxiplasmosis. She died three weeks later on August 2, 2016. Her and I were really close and losing her was one of the most difficult things I've ever been through. Every day I miss Dino, but I'm happy she was part of my life for two years. I'm  also thankful to still have Pebbles and Bam-Bam. I think having taken in these cats makes our relationship that much more special.

L to R: Dino, Bam-Bam, and Pebbles (2014)
Bam-Bam (2015)
Pebbles (2016)
Dino (2016) 













3) Myself
As an adolescent, I let other people influence me. I didn't really find myself until I was at Moravian. I found my passion for school counseling in 2012 when I interned as an undergrad at Spring Garden Elementary School. I applied to Lehigh and was accepted. I'm proud of who I became and the career path I took. I finally became comfortable enough in my own skin that I am just myself. I'm not as easily swayed as I was when I was younger. I stand my ground when I believe in something and I've learned to advocate for myself and my students. I've learned what my deal breakers are and that my career as a school counselor is extremely important to me.

4) My Professional Learning Network
In two of my classes at Lehigh, we were required to use twitter to learn about building our online professional learning networks. I was a little hesitant. I don't have Facebook and I'm not the biggest fan of social media. I wanted to start a blog when I got my first school counseling job in 2016. I started trying to get involved in twitter chats in the past few months. I love learning from other counselors and getting feedback from them. There are so many awesome counselors. I feel lucky to be part of such an awesome group of educators. Thanks for all of the ideas and support: Erin Rebling, Janelle Lawson, Bridget Helms, Mary Beth McCormac, Mike Laskowski, Wendy Kane, and Barbara Gruener to name a few.

5) My Colleagues and Champions
Everywhere I've gone, I've met amazing people that have influenced my life in some way. I look back on some of the most stressful events in my life and I can think of people in each case that supported me. I often think that I never would have made it through these situations if it wasn't for these colleagues and champions. I wouldn't have changed my major from Business to Psychology if not for Dr. Karen Rhines. I might never have realized I wanted to be a school counselor if not for my internship at Spring Garden with Alicia Keen. Graduating from Lehigh would have been more stressful without the support I received from Audrey Davis, Erin Kern, and Dr. Jerome Farrell (not to mention my cohort). AN, QJ, KB, SK, DL, KM, AS, and AM all made me feel welcome and supported me at my first school counseling job. I will forever be grateful for their support and I will miss them as I embark on the next chapter of my school counseling journey.

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