Tell us about yourself and what you have been doing since you graduated?
I graduated from USF in 2015 with a degree in MA Counseling Psychology-Marriage and Family Therapy. I am currently busy working as a Case Manager for a local psychiatric hospital while trying to gain the hours necessary to obtain my license as a therapist. Once in a while, I visit the USF-Sacramento campus to speak with prospective students, which I feel incredibly honored to do. USF introduced me to diverse ideas that I would not have been able to grasp without the guidance of the amazing people I have encountered in the program such as the professors and fellow students. These ideas prepared me to work with my patients and their complex dispositions. For instance, I learned how to effectively approach people who are in imminent crisis by utilizing my knowledge about their culture, changing my posture and managing my speech (tone) to provide a calming atmosphere.
What is the most exciting part of your job?
My job is quite exciting as I meet diverse people with incredible stories to tell. I have patients who are very successful that one would never expect them to be plagued with a detrimental illness that requires psychiatric hospitalization. I also have patients who had lost everything they have due to their illness. Some of my other patients have been hospitalized multiple times that they are no longer shaken by the idea of being in a psychiatric hospital. Upon my reflection on my experiences in the hospital, I realized how privileged I am to meet people in their most vulnerable times. It is also amazing to realize that people may experience similar symptoms, but their stories are idiosyncratic.
What inspires you and why?
There is this one famous quote that has been used so many times in different occasions that I feel like the entire world should know it, and it goes “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi’s quote has been stuck in my head for several years now, but I am glad it did as it inspires me to pursue change. I want to bring change to other people, especially those who are suffering, but I know that in order for me to do that, I have to welcome change in all aspects of my life. I wake up everyday hoping that all of the miniscule things happening around me would lead to positive incremental changes in my life, which would allow me to bring positive change to someone else’s life.
What advice would you like to give to students?
Self-reflect. It is imperative to sit down and reflect on your life. Sometimes, your days are going by so quickly that you keep doing things without really thinking about how they affect your life. You can find yourself in a state of malcontent, and you are left to wonder how you ended up bitter. Sometimes, there is a pressure to perform and achieve a particular feat that you end up with a tunnel vision. However, you have to allow yourself the time to ask (existential) questions such as are you actually happy to where you are heading? Is this really the career you want to pursue or are you pressured to be in this particular field? What changes need to happen in order to feel satisfied with your life (choices)? Self-reflection can help you know yourself better in order to make satisfying decisions. Take advantage of the small class size; get to know your peers and professors. Create your own circle of 5 (5 people who you can rely on in the future). Go Dons!