If I said that the experiences I have had in my life did not influence my choice to apply to the Master’s program in counseling at the University, it would be the ultimate lie. In fact, the experiences I have had throughout my life have accumulated to become the primary reason behind my desire to write you this statement of purpose. I cannot say this has always been my field of interest, but there is no longer a doubting thought in my mind that would alter my chosen career objective of becoming a counselor.
My passion for this field is primarily evident through my academic studies.After participating in psychology courses to meet the requirements in order to receive a minor in this subject, I decided to major in psychology my sophomore year. Most people told me it was a competitive field, and I might not even get a job in the field. I have been told that my major is a joke, but I knew this was the subject, in which my interest did not experience a conceivable limit. It was the one thing I could see myself learning about for the rest of my life. Psychology is the topic that I not only perceive as having much to be learned but also one that I considered to have much to be discovered.
I have made many discoveries through my participation in various activities outside of my academic work. In June of 2011, I became a member of the North Dakota Association of the Blind. Having a mission concerning empowering individuals with visual impairments, I felt this was an organization that possessed a purpose that I truly believed. While starting out as something I could have as a random addition to my resume, I found myself developing a passion for the work of the organization. When I was officially nominated and awarded the office of secretary in June of 2012, my overall perspective of the organization and its ultimate role in my life began to change. While working as secretary for the North Dakota Association of the Blind, I have had the opportunity to interact with more individuals within the organization as well as surrounding communities in North Dakota. Many of these interactions occur during times of significance in other individuals’ lives. Whenever there is a death among the individuals in the organization or their family members, it is my duty as secretary to offer condolences on behalf of the organization in the form of a sympathy card. The lack of experience any living person has with death makes the thought of dying essentially unpredictable. This blanketed feeling of the unknown often leads individuals to develop a mixture of emotions such as sadness, helplessness, and fear. Though this has undoubtedly presented itself to me as one of the most challenging tasks I have ever faced as a leader of an organization, I consider it to be one of the most rewarding in terms of developing experience in dealing with difficult situations. As secretary of the North Dakota Association of the Blind, I am also responsible for participating as a staff member during the NDAB’s annual Family Adjustment Seminar. The purpose of this seminar is to assist individuals with newly developing or previously discovered visual impairments and their families. As staff members of this seminar, it is our primary mission to provide these individuals and their families with any relevant information, tools, and resources that may serve as a benefit to them in coping with the concept of vision loss in its entirety. It is the hope of the organization to accomplish this mission by not only bringing in speakers to talk to these individuals and their families, but also to break out into smaller groups to have more personal contact with these individuals and their families. Nothing has had a greater impact on me during the time I have served as secretary than when I sat down in that circle of individuals. Establishing a more personal means of communication with these individuals and their family members remains a truly rewarding experience for me. Even though the relationships I developed with these individuals during this time were mostly insignificant compared to other relationships in my life, nothing has meant more to me than having the opportunity to visit with these individuals, exposing myself to various perspectives.
Nothing put more into perspective for me than joining a sorority. The most influential opportunity I have experienced is becoming a member of the Gamma Nu chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta. This experience has truly enhanced me as an all-around individual. From academics to service to sisterhood and beyond, Kappa Alpha Theta has taught me so much about myself as an individual as well as the person I would like to be. I have grown so much from this experience, and I could not imagine my life without its ever-lasting influence. I feel so grateful to have developed so many great friendships and countless skills from my sorority experience. From the time I had first joined Kappa Alpha Theta, I have had the privilege of working with women from all walks of life. Whether it was volunteering to help raise money for our main philanthropy CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) by hosting a community nacho feed or developing a sisterhood to bring our chapter closer together such as bonding during a sleepover or picnic, I have had the privilege to interact and develop relationships with countless individuals. Throughout my Theta experience, I also developed great leadership skills. Serving as the Communications Director for our chapter during 2013, I was able to put my leadership abilities to work. Being responsible for all the communication that takes place within the chapter as well as among others and our chapter was both a rewarding and challenging task. This leadership position has offered me sincere insight on how influential and essential communication is within an organization. Joining a sorority has been an unexpectedly treasured experience for me.
The most valuable experience I have had thus far in regards to my overall career objectives is working as a research assistant for North Dakota State University. Working as a research assistant for Dr. G. in a cognitive research lab, I have refined many of my skills. My primary role in this position is to administer consent forms and directions for the study to perspective participants. While having the responsibility to ensure that all individuals are able to complete the tasks with little to no difficulty, I have discovered how much I really enjoy working with others. Not only have I developed a superior gratification for working with people, I have also began to notice just how much my communication skills, especially the ones I had developed while serving as Communications Director, are being utilized. Assisting individuals in understanding various concepts has helped me further advance my communication skills. I have also been able to advance my knowledge about technology and its role in the field of research. Having the privilege of working with eye-tracking equipment has given me the opportunity to experience the wonders of technology use in research. While offering me great insight as to countless issues that may arise with the use of technology, I have been able to develop effective problem solving skills. Through these technological issues, I have also developed a grander degree of appreciation for the ability of technology to advance research in its entirety. As a whole, this particular opportunity has enhanced my respect for research, especially within the psychological field. Not many people stop to think how much time, effort, and careful thought goes into developing and carrying out studies. Working as a research assistant has fostered my perspective of what really goes into making research happen. The amount of work that goes into creating the future knowledge for society is truly admirable. And the countless skills I have been able to further advance through this experience will undoubtedly benefit me in my future career objectives.
I aspire to complete a Master’s degree in community counseling from the University to further continue achieving many objectives in my career. It is very apparent that most individuals who seek a career in counseling have the desire to help others. I am no exception. Believing in the true worth of every individual’s life, it is one of my greatest objectives to enhance the lives of others. I would specifically like to accomplish this through providing counseling to other individuals from all walks of life, because I believe in the utilization of counseling as a means of individual enrichment. Whether it is stress or depression, I consider counseling to be a valuable means of coping with many life situations. Through working with individuals to solve life’s current issues, I would also like to utilize techniques, which have been proven to be beneficial through research.
Using evidence-based methods with the aim to provide treatment to individuals, I would like to work as a counselor within the community. Currently favoring no particular age group with which I would be most interested in working with, I would enjoy counseling a varying population of individuals. With a focus in cognitive behavioral approaches, I would like to help individuals with life situations, especially when it comes to stressful matters. Counseling is very beneficial to people. Significant progress can be made through the simplest gestures such as developing plans or offering ideas for coping strategies. I would especially like to work with stress management, because I have found that stress is an underlying cause of so many physical and emotional issues. By counseling stressed individuals, it would be my goal to reduce as many of these physical and emotional counterparts to this fundamental hazard.
My biggest objective in terms of my career would be to make a difference in someone else’s life. A Master’s degree in counseling could further assist me in making this a realistic career objective by providing me with much desired knowledge and experience in a field of my interest. This would be the most ultimately rewarding accomplishment to experience in my career. In true aspiration, it would be my objective to accomplish this with any individual I may encounter in my career, co-worker, patient, or otherwise. But, if I had the privilege of achieving this objective with at least one individual through my professional work, I would consider my career to be both satisfying and successful.
Though I have not always had the ambition to pursue counseling in my career, the objectives which I would like to accomplish in my career have led me to this concrete aspiration. Especially throughout the experience I have gained throughout my collegiate education, I have further advanced many skills, which would greatly benefit me in this career. This career would be extremely important to me, because I would have the opportunity to help others and make a difference through providing evidence-based counseling to individuals within a community. I can honestly state that completing a Master’s degree in counseling from the University would greatly assist me in fulfilling my aspiration to achieve all of my career objectives.