"Once armed with the knowledge you will gain, you will never look back."

Lynn Foster

 

When I was invited to share my experiences while studying to become a counsellor I was only too pleased to do so, as it may help any students out there currently studying who are hitting a few stumbling blocks in one way or another. 

 

From commencing my studies to graduating took me almost 3 years, I was working full-time for nearly all of that 3-year period.  My background has always been in secretarial and administrative roles, over the years this type of work became more and more meaningless to me, I wanted to do something I felt that I was more suited to and that I felt was worthwhile so I decided to become a counsellor.  After making many enquiries I decided upon the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors – the course was perfect for me because it was self-paced and I could study from home – a blessing when one has to work.

 

Initially it wasn't that hard to discipline myself to study 4 nights a week because it was all so new and exciting, however, 3 months into the course I started to get very nervous as it was almost time for my 1st seminar – I couldn't see myself demonstrating all the required skills in a class situation, not to mention performing in front of two psychologists running the seminar.  This was a low point for me and I remember ringing Rob Carrigan to say I didn't know if I could do this, my problem was that I had very little confidence, something I have always struggled with.

 

Rob was certainly understanding and supportive and he suggested putting me in touch with another student at my level and we ended up going to our first seminar together.  I was so sure I would be the worst in the class, having to demonstrate the various communication skills in an artificial situation.  Looking back now with some amusement I can honestly say I didn't perform that well – but neither did most students - It was great! Some of us had a good giggle at ourselves, and the psychologists running the seminar were wonderful, they knew of course how nervous the majority of us would be.  After attending each seminar I slowly gained more and more confidence, even though I had to push myself out of my comfort zone each time – these milestones gave me a real sense of achievement and the determination to keep going.

 

I would like to say I found the course easy but I didn't, some units were quite challenging for me, I would often tell myself  'I can't do this' but with the help of the Student Support Centre I managed to get through each unit and even surprised myself getting some very good comments back from the markers.  This gave me the confidence to keep going, just trying to focus on one unit at a time.

 

Completing this course has been a wonderful learning experience for me, it has changed the way I think quite a lot, and I do believe I have grown and gained a wider perspective as a person.

 

I have since gone on to complete two study majors and I am now in the process of starting my own business from home. My study period hasn't always been an easy journey, but then nothing worthwhile achieving rarely is.  So to any student out there who is struggling on any part of the course, stick with it, you will be so glad you did, and once armed with the knowledge you will gain, you will never look back.