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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Guest Post: Liz Hemphill and First Year Wisdom

If you have been following my blog, you have probably seen Liz. I have had the pleasure of being her co-counselor and she is absolutely amazing. We kind of hit it off from Day 1 when we found out we were sisters....sorority sisters (Chi O). She has such a caring heart balanced with a hilarious sense of humor and a well respected work ethic (she was in the news world before). I am so happy to have her do a guest post! If you haven't seen her, here are some pictures of our many shenanigans.

So here she is and I am sure you will see many future guest posts from her! Thanks, again, Liz!

How cute is Liz and her hubby?

Melanie has been so kind as to share her blog and allow me, a rookie counselor, to share a little bit about my first year!  It’s been a crazy year with ups and downs.  I never realized all the time and passion it takes to be an effective counselor.   I’ve learned a lot but the biggest personal lesson I’ve learned this year is to have a work life balance (As I write this as 9pm ;). The number one thing I’ve learned in this regard is to try and save enough of myself for my friends and family.  My first couple of months in the office I gave it all… too much, and had nothing left when I got home.  Since then, with the help of some more seasoned counselors, I’ve learned that it’s okay to leave it at the office.  Recently, I had to revisit this old battle when we lost one of our most precious 7th graders to cancer.  It rocked our entire school and me.  I couldn’t sleep the night I found out.  My poor husband couldn’t even get me to carry on a conversation; I was so distracted.  How could one so young be chosen to go home?  With the help of my director of guidance, however; I saw that this is where a counselor should find herself.  Walking into school the next day I felt like there was a true need for every ounce of my training, experience and mere existence.  We set up a triage of sorts in the library for mourning students to visit.  My principals and I went into every classroom during first periods and spoke to our students about loss and grieving.  We really tried to use the experience as a learning opportunity for our students on how to handle adversity in life.  I have attached some of the art our students drew that day to better express their grief.  

At the end of the day, I was done… mentally and physically.  I went home and slept the sleep of someone who had truly carried out their task.  Our students were served and continued to be served the entire week because I had learned my lesson early, take care of yourself and you can then take care of others.  Remember, our job is so important but if we aren’t our best, then how can we expect the kids we touch to strive for their best.  Take care of yourselves counselors. –Liz

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