Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Who is the "Guidance Counselor" in your life?

After reading this great post from Jimmy Moore about his English teacher, I started thinking about how all of us have someone who has tried to discourage us from reaching out goals. Mine was my high school guidance counselor. Here's the story...

I was not always an A student. I struggled through Middle School (or Jr. High to some of you). When I reached high school I was just plugging along, hoping to get good enough grades to get by. While choosing our extra curricular subjects, we were advised to discuss them with the schools guidance counselor.

That's exactly what I did. He talked to me about college and explained to me that my grades were not good enough to make it in. I knew that already.. no big whoop there. I did want to do better.. but some subjects just didn't come easily to me. He said I should focus on other things since I probably wouldn't make it to college. (Looking back, I should have smacked him for doubting my abilities and intelligence.)

So he looks at my choices for the "extras", which were band and choir, and asks me why I want to take music? What will it do for me? How will that benefit my future? At the time I wasn't sure how to answer. I just knew that music was in my blood and when I was singing I was happiest. He then started discussing Home Economics and all the other options I had and how they would be a better choice. He really didn't think I'd do well in my classes of choice and that I should choose other interests.

Did I take his advice? No. I LOVE music and at the time it was my whole life. I couldn't imagine struggling through the day and then going to an extra class I didn't love or have any real interest in.

My freshman year I was in the Freshman Girls Choir and Concert/Marching Band. I loved choir but lost interest in band. My Sophomore year I chose choir and Home Economics. My Junior and Senior year I chose to spend half my day at the local technical school and graduate with a certificate in Early Childhood Education. I still had the option of an extra class, so I chose Choir once again.

How did it all work out? Well, for starters let me say that when I graduated I had a 3.8 GPA. How's that for someone who started out in the wrong foot! :0) I also earned my certificate for Early Childhood Education, which was useful in several areas of my life, especially when I was hired as an Assistant Manager/Preschool Teacher of a local daycare. My Junior year at the tech school I was FHA/HERO Secretary of our class. My Senior year I was voted FHA/HERO Vice President. I was a member of our high school Letterman's Club. I still have the leather jacket with my bars on it. What did I letter in? Music.

Not only did I enjoy Choir, I excelled in it! Just take a look:

(I took these pictures today with a borrowed point and shoot.. I miss my camera!)

I graduated with 15 Superior medals in my possession. (For those who don't know what that means.. it means that I sang solos, duets or ensembles in contests and received the highest marks they give out.) I also have several certificates and a ribbon from ensembles and duets. Towards the end of my Senior year I was added into the Senior All-American Hall of Fame for Choral Honors.

I'm so very glad I didn't listen to his advice! My music has allowed me to minister in several churches, which I feel is a valuable gift to ME. It's been more fulfilling than anything else I've ever done.

I also feel that being in a subject I enjoyed, such as music, helped me in many other aspects of my schooling. I learned discipline, the reward of hard work, and it gave me an outlet for my feelings. As a teen, it was just what I needed.

So who is the "guidance counselor" in your life? Who says you can't and then tells you what you should be doing?

Remember that we all have those negative influences in our lives, so you are not alone. Keep your eye on your goals and you head held high! I firmly believe the saying "What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger".

Whether it's weight loss, or some other dream you aspire to, try to look at your "counselor" as a challenge and not a discouragement. You are the only one who can keep you from seeing success!

Maybe I actually owe that counselor a thank you. Without his lack of confidence in me, I may have never pushed myself and found my true potential.


Anonymous said...

What a great post!
Funny enough, in college a counselor told me not to bother pursuing elementary education because he didn't see a great need for it down the road(???) and because I didn't want to waste any more time (I was already beginning year 5, ick...) I stopped taking the education courses. Now I'm trying to get back into education, over 15 years later, and I'm wishing I had started so many years ago because it's tough to get in without experience (I'm learning this painfully) so yeah, I'd like to kick that counselor's ass. I don't get how people in those positions got there--it's mind blowing.
But your post rocks!

Sparky's Girl said...

Thanks Adam!

Your counselor didn't see a need for it? What.. kids weren't going to exist anymore? Or school wasn't going to be necessary? What an idiot! Good teachers are ALWAYS in demand.

Let that idiot fuel your fire and keep at it! :0)

oceans said...

What a wonderful post Amy. I am glad that you followed your passion. We need people in our lives that believe in us, and can be allies on our journey!

Sparky's Girl said...

Thanks Ava! I have to say it's friends like YOU, and all the others who comment and interact with me through blogs, forums, etc, that keep me going!

PJ said...

Nice post! I was involved in singing my whole life too, but where I was, there was no such thing as medals, ribbons and trophies for it LOL! That's interesting. (We did have things like chorale competitions but the school got a small trophy not the participants.) I really believe that people should follow what most draws them. The only problem is that most of us are not exposed to more than the tiniest fraction of the world by the time we hit high school, and so a million things that we might love and excel at might not have chanced by us at that point. People attempting to guide a career by suggesting home ec are utterly laughable! I'm glad you followed what you felt inside and did well! That's the testimony. :-)

Sparky's Girl said...

Thanks PJ!

We didn't get the medals and such from our school. We got them in district competitions throughout the state. The top row of medals were the ones I got at State competitions. Those are the medals I'm most proud of.

I agree, you are so limited in experience and the available opportunities when you are in high school.

I guess the reason he thought I belonged in home ec is so I could be a "bare foot and pregnant" housewife. While I certainly love being a stay-at-home Mom right now, it doesn't mean I lack talent or intelligence. (I have had other women insinuate that I'm missing out because I don't have a career and therefore I'm pretty useless. I just smile sweetly because I know I'll have memories of my kids they won't have. I can always get a career later.)