In just a few short days, my term of service with the Carolina College Advising Corps will come to a close. I will rejoice and hold back tears as I celebrate with my seniors on their college decisions, their scholarship awards, and graduation. It’s hard to believe that next year this time I will no longer be working in Warren County but instead embarking on my own new experience that I am extremely excited about.
As a first generation college student from a rural town in North Carolina I, like many of the students I advise, thought that graduating from UNC Chapel Hill would be the peak performance of my life. Never did I imagine I would be applying to graduate school programs, much less being accepted into one. But it has truly been the support of my family, my on-site facilitators, my colleagues, and my fellow advisers within the Carolina College Advising Corps that drove me to apply to graduate school: specifically programs for school counseling. The Carolina College Advising Corps has afforded me opportunities to share with my students the importance of getting a post-secondary education and to instill in them a sense that they are worthy of that education. Through being an adviser I have personally seen how many challenges first generation, underrepresented, and low-income high school students face when it comes to getting to college. As advisers we can help make the process of applying to college and applying for financial aid a little easier for students and their families, but we cannot always tackle some of the bigger challenges students face, such as difficult home lives, mental illness, or failure to take required courses to graduate. I truly believe as a school counselor I will learn ways to better support students in these situations and help them tackle these barriers one by one.
While I have learned many things from my students, I have learned the most from the counselors at Warren County High School and Warren New Tech High School who served as my on-site facilitators during my term as adviser. Working with these women helped solidify my decision to become a school counselor. Seeing the active role that the counselors play in the students’ lives made me realize that this is the type of impact I want to make on students as I move forward with my career. My on-sites have pushed me to be a better education professional and have supported my ideas and initiatives. Without them, I do not know where I would be.
Now after months of filling out graduate school applications, attending graduate school interviews, and waiting, I am proud to say that I will be attending North Carolina Central University to pursue a Master’s degree in Counselor Education concentrating in School Counseling. I am looking forward to starting in the fall and bringing the many experiences I have had during my time in Warren County. I hope to bring awareness to many of the challenges that counselors throughout North Carolina are facing, such as not having enough one-on-one interaction with students. I also hope my classes will help me consider ways to implement a comprehensive school counseling program that allows for this type of one-on-one interaction with students once I am in practice.
As the year comes to an end, I think about all the great times I have had with the other advisers, my students, and staff at my schools. Even though I am sad to be leaving, I know that I have gained many new friends, built a professional network, and created relationships that will last a long time. I am forever grateful for the program staff at the Carolina College Advising Corps for believing in me and for the people of Warren County for trusting me to assist their students in preparing to go to college. I am now equipped with the tools I need to be successful in graduate school, and within two years I will be Ms. Redmond, School Counselor!!!