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Student Profile: Tamara Helland, Master’s in Guidance and Counseling
Tamara Helland will be graduating from the Albright School of Education this June with a Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling and a Washington State ESA Certification. She sat down with CityU to discuss her experience at the University, and her plans for the future.
City University of Seattle (CU): Tell us a little more about yourself! What’s your background? What led you to enroll at CityU?
Tamara Helland (TH): I worked as a dancer, choreographer, director and dance teacher for 10 years. After changing my major many times during my undergraduate career, I ended up graduating from Central Washington University with a BFA in Musical Theatre.
Though I love working in the theatre world, it definitely doesn’t provide the stability and financial support of a career. I had always loved listening to people and helping others talk out their problems, so I decided that School Counselor might be the right fit for me. I chose the program at CityU because I wanted to still be able to work and do theatre during the week. With classes on the weekends, I could really focus on my education for those two days, instead of worrying about driving to classes 3-5 days during the week.
CU: What has your experience at CityU been like so far?
TH: I love that the teachers understand that we have lives, too. To give up your family time during the weekends is tough, but we have all be willing to sacrifice in order to achieve the goal of gaining our Master’s degree. But there are things that we can’t control, and the teachers have been more than accommodating. They truly care about the people we are now and the counselors we will become in the future.
The best part about my time at CityU is being a part of the Aqua Cohort in Tacoma. I constantly find myself looking around the classroom in complete awe of every single one of my classmates. I’m so lucky to have been paired with these like-minded, passionate, driven, and inspiring people. Our cohort has become a very close family and I know that we will continue to support and love each other for years to come.
CU: Was your degree something you felt you needed to obtain in order to take a professional step forward?
TH: Absolutely. I do feel like education is becoming more and more important these days when looking for a “career.” I had a Bachelor’s degree, but didn’t really seem to be finding the jobs that sparked my interest. When I was looking for a career, I wanted something that would allow me to help every day; would allow me to work with kids; would allow me to advocate for those who needed extra support; and would let me be my passionate, driven, and enthusiastic self. After completing this program and learning more about the world of School Counseling, I really do feel like this is a great start to a fulfilling an exciting career in the education field.
CU: What do you see as your biggest challenge after graduation? How are you planning on addressing those challenges?
TH: My biggest challenge will most definitely be in how I manage my time. Every school counselor will tell you that there are “never enough hours in the day”. Since I was 7 years old, I’ve been an incredibly busy person, piling activities and events on top of each other and volunteering my free time on a daily basis. But for the first year of my career as a school counselor, I really want to be able to focus on my students, my responsibilities, and my role within my school and community. I’ve learned how to say “no” to the opportunities that are not priorities and I’m excited to be able to say “yes” to my students and my school.
CU: Any advice for future graduates that might be traveling the same path you are?
TH: Do it. Even when it feels like it’s too much, do it. Finish that paper, do the presentation, go to class every Saturday, and achieve the goal of higher education. When you look back on all of this, can you ask yourself if you “did everything you could do?” There is nothing wrong with being happy about your education/job/life and saying that it’s “good enough.” But that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to look back and say, “Yes, I did it. I did everything I could do and I feel great about what I’ve achieved.” I’m incredibly proud to be a part of City University’s graduating Guidance and Counseling Aqua Cohort 2014. I cannot wait to walk on June 21, dressed in my cap, gown, and hood, and watch my Cohort family celebrate what we have ACHIEVED.
We did it and so can you.
If you’d like to share your story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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