Name: Meredith Buzas
Title: Personal Counselor
School: St. Monica Catholic High School
University: Antioch University
How did you hear about Outreach? From the training site list at Antioch University Los Angeles.
What are some other roles you play in life that you would like to share? I am a wedding and event floral designer, graduate assistant, artist, runner and outdoor adventurer.
What led to your decision to be a school counselor with us? I was interested in working with teens and their families. When I was offered my placement at St. Monica High School, my choice was a no brainer. The faculty and staff are so supportive of both their students and their counselors.
What are some key elements needed while working with children and adolescents in this role ? A school counselor needs to be flexible, have the ability to multitask and prioritize, and must have a calm demeanor since handling weekly crises are an inevitable part of working with an adolescent population.
How do you identify change in clients? I see change in students in several different ways. For some, as self esteem increases, their grades follow suit. For others, I see change through their increased ability to attach words to their feelings, meaning to their suffering and develop awareness of their behaviors.
How can this practicum/internship experience help you in your future working in the mental health field? I feel like a school setting is a great place to start because you learn how to work within a system. This experience will only serve to increase my empathy for, and ability to competently serve families who are struggling emotionally while trying to successfully navigate the rigors of our education system.
What words of wisdom can you share with future candidates? Be strategic in picking your placement and ask lots of questions in your interview regarding supervision, support and potential roadblocks. Think about your goals and how your traineeship will help you accomplish them. A school setting is a great place to gain hours working with children but if you prefer to work one on one with individuals, then a school setting might not be for you. School counselors must enjoy working, not just with the students, but also with their families, faculty, staff and outside professionals. And finally, remember that every training experience, whether amazing or not so amazing, will be full of opportunities for learning and growth as you travel along the path towards licensure!