By Samantha Vargas | July 14, 2020
I’m Samantha Vargas, a soon-to-be second year in the Marian mental health counseling program. I recently graduated IU Bloomington in the spring of 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Over the summer, I received an email about applying for a small, new graduate program in order to obtain a master’s in counseling. I am glad to say that I was accepted into the program, and it has been an amazing experience.
I enjoy being part of a small cohort, because I can freely ask questions in class. I have also been able to build close relationships, not just with the students, but with the professors, as well. I have learned a lot from my professors, which includes lessons surrounding social justice and diversity issues. I remember learning about how important advocacy is for a counselor, which led to a discussion on how to stand up for what you believe in.
This experience gave me the courage to take action on social justice issues that occur every day, such as attending a protest for the Black Lives Matter movement, writing emails and calling state representatives, and educating myself before voting. It has been eye opening to discuss these topics during class, and I feel like these discussions prepare me well for my future career as a counselor. I’m eager to use what I’ve been learning in class with my future clients during my clinical experience.
A little advice for first years is to practice time management. It's difficult to manage school, work, practicum, and a social life all at the same time. Something that has helped me, is organizing myself at the beginning of each week. I write out what I will complete each day, in order to get everything done and done well.
I’ve learned that self-care is important. I was able to learn just what self-care means to me. Scheduling times for breaks and alone time is part of my routine now. I usually take most Sundays “off.” I do absolutely nothing but relax. I binge watch my favorite shows, read a book, or listen to music.
Marian’s Master of Science in Counseling program has made me excited to begin my profession as a mental health counselor. I love working with children, so I plan to become a children’s therapist. I am grateful for my professors who incorporate my interests into lectures and are always open to answering my questions. I feel confident in saying that thanks to Marian, I will be a successful counselor.