Disclaimer: This post is about my own personal life, but I know I’m not the only one who has had a struggle similar to this. I hope you guys will check it out for some personal insight about me as well as the lives of those who are dealing with similar circumstances. If you’re one of those people, you are welcome here and you are not alone.
How many times have I made big plans in my life only to have those plans fall through? I honestly have stopped counting at this point. Well, here I am again, but I’m surprised to find that my attitude has changed about this failure. Maybe I’ve done a bit of reframing during my time in graduate school, or maybe I’ve allowed my priorities to change. Either way, I can’t believe I’m here again and I’m not even mad about it.
Where Am I Now?
So where am I exactly? Well, I graduated with a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. As I got into my practicum and internship (basically an on the job training type situation), I began to realize that my next steps were going to be much harder than I first thought. To work as a counselor, I would have to become licensed in my state, and that requires several steps. First, I would have to find an approved supervisor and a site to work at during my supervisory period. That period normally takes about two years, or however long it takes to collect a total of 3,000 hours of counseling related work.
Struggle Number One
Struggle Number One: I would have to find a local job and find a reliable ride to and from that job on a daily basis. So, the area I live in has a bit of a deficit for counseling jobs that I can do well with my poor vision. More on this topic when I discuss my practicum and internship training experiences. Secondly, my area has zero public transportation. We have one unreliable taxi company and very few Uber drivers. I currently live with my parents about twenty minutes out of the nearest town, so an Uber would cost about $30 one way on the best of days.
Counseling jobs, even once licensed, do not pay that much. Around here, a counselor would be lucky to make $34,000 a year before taxes. $60/day in transportation on days where I can’t find a ride would be a ridiculous amount to spend. Sure, I have some family who could drive me, but I don’t relish the idea of planning my life as if they’ll always have time or energy to shuttle me around from place to place. What if someone moves away? Or gets a job with different hours than my job? Or, much more likely, my fiance is gone on a deployment lasting several weeks to months? Could I justify paying the $60/day on occasion? I’m not sure, but this is struggle number one.
Struggle Number Two
Struggle Number Two: Finding a supervisor in this area is also a challenge. There are only two or three supervisors in this general area. I would have to find transportation to meet with them once a week or once every other week, and I would also have to pay them. There is also a chance that my supervisor would live and work in a neighboring city. This creates an additional transportation issue and adds to the previously mentioned money struggle.
Struggle Number Three
Struggle Number Three: The vision issues I face feel so insurmountable at times that finding confidence is a struggle. I feel confident that I have the skills, knowledge, and the initiative to do well as a counselor, but I struggle so much with missing out on the other parts of the job. I can’t see facial expressions at a normal distance or small body language gestures. So, I’d miss an eye roll or a shrug that would help me understand a client was frustrated or that I had hit the nail on the head with something I said. I do, however, have a keen ear for vocal tone and other verbal cues that can go unnoticed by others. This is one of the strengths that I lean on when working with people or in everyday conversations. So, it sounds like I have a nice balance between my strengths and my weaknesses, right? Well, these don’t always create a nice balance in every setting. I’ll explain more on that in a later post.
After considering each of these factors carefully and contemplating what goals I’d like to set for my future, I have come to the conclusion that I may need to find other ways to make a living and fulfill my passions. Part of that can be satisfied with this blog. I hope to share my own story here and to offer a bit of help when I can to those who may be searching for it. As for money, I may keep children at home for friends who need that service and search for other creative ways to make money.
Maybe this blog can be a small source of income for me one day, and maybe I can pursue my music and make some money there. I never wanted to be someone who lived an “artists’ life” or what I viewed as such. I wanted a steady, reliable source of income, but I believe this new plan will challenge me in ways to become more creative and more driven than that nine-to-five ever could. This journey is going to feel like an uphill battle at first, but I hope as time passes that I will learn and grow. I’ve come up with creative solutions in the past and I can do that again.
So, here we go. I hope you’ll follow me on this new journey.