Sunday, August 4, 2013

The million dollar question

I'm done with grad school. I don't have my diploma yet, but I've already received my first student loan bill. Sallie Mae really doesn't waste any time. Par for the course, many people have inquired about my post-graduation plans. Ah yes, the million dollar question: So what are you going to do now that you're done with grad school?

Most people actually expect a short answer, but I don't really have a short answer. In the broadest of terms, I'd love to earn a paycheck. More specifically, I'd love a job using the skills I've been trained to do. Even more specifically, I want a job that doesn't really exist so I'm actually working on making that happen.

First things first, I need to become licensed. The timeline for the licensure process is as follows: Wait 4-6 weeks for my university to finalize my diploma. Once I have documentation of completed degree, I register to take the National Counselor's Exam (NCE), which is scheduled four weeks later. While I will know whether I pass or fail at the time of the exam, it will take 4-6 weeks to receive my official scores in which I can submit to the state for licensure. And quite honestly, I have no idea what the process is like for the state to approve the application. Basically, I have right around 12 weeks until I'm employable in a counselor/therapist role.

For now, I just plan to spend a lot of quality time with this study manual and it's companion audiobook set. So far, I've made it through 2 of the twenty CDs. 

As for finding my perfect job, well, it doesn't exist... yet! But, I'm working on it and I'm hopeful. My education, experience, and passion have me looking for ways to serve the mental health needs of our veterans in a civilian, community-based setting. I am hoping to work along side some of the established organizations in our area (and/or bringing successful organizations from other cities here into Kansas City) to provide psychological no-cost services to veterans. This would involve seeking funding from local businesses and individuals, reaching out into the military and veteran population, providing psycho-educational tools, and reducing the stigma of mental health issues. Once I'm licensed, my hope is to provide therapeutic services in a practice geared to serving veterans and their families.

So, this about sums up my post-graduation plans. Granted, I could go on and on (I wrote an entire 16 page paper and prepared a 90 minute presentation of the civilian role in military/veteran mental health needs, so I really could go on  and on...), but most people seem to check out at about this point in time, so I'll finish it up here. Though, if you do have comments or questions, let me know! And if you have tons of money just waiting to pour into past and present service members-- let me know. I'll put it to good use!


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