College Counseling Student
I guess I am writing this as a retrospective college counseling student. I returned to college, as a graduate student in the fall of 1990, when I was 43 and about 22 years past my undergraduate degree in History.
I was looking out towards the place where I am now, at 61, and thinking about retirement, and retirement income.
Illinois State University (ISU) had a program for us non-traditional students, which is what they called us older folks back then.
However, that program made beginning extremely easy, and that was very helpful for me.
Even though I had a passion for Men's Work, and would have filled out many forms, ISU was very considerate with the paper work side of things.
My primary concern was how the kids would look at me, and would I be held in contempt because of my age. I was remembering back to that 1960's anthem, "Don't trust anybody over 30" that was part of the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention and its aftermath.
Well, my worries were for naught, everybody was way too busy to contemplate my age as a criteria of my value.
I believe the Professors thought that my maturity was of value, and I believe they appreciated the no-nonsense contributions of myself and other older students.
Yes, there were other non-traditional students, and I was very grateful for that.
One of the things I had to do in my head was make some decisions about time and relationships, and I think every student has to make similar decisions.
Because I was working and paying my own way, time was of the essence. I was very determined to do whatever it took to succeed academically, and if that meant suspending personal relationships, then I would do that. And I did.
Working and studying became what I did. I remember that the income supply was low, as I was working at Walgreens which was right near my house, and I am still grateful for the forbearance of my manager, Tim Brooks. Hope you are well, Tim, where ever you are. You may be retired now, somewhere on the West coast, enjoying that Walgreen's retirement package.
Once during my internship, I had to drive about 2 hours from my internship location to the Bloomington, Illinois Walgreen's for work. I got to the Walgreen's in time to throw on my vest and name tag and go to work.
When I came out at the end of my shift, I had two flat tires, which were flat because I had worn them down to the belts, and isn't it amazing that I even got to work? They would not have driven many more miles.
Hopefully that brief anecdote illustrates the kinds of economic choices students make sometimes in pursuit of their degrees.
So as a potential college counseling student, come prepared for leaner economic resources, which will fire up your imagination when you want to take advantage of a concert or local entertainment venue.
The one thing that I could have used some training in was relaxation and how it applied to studying. I was bound and determined not to waste what I was seeing as my last opportunity for a professional career, and I brought a lot of that anxiety to my studying. My study habits were ineffective, because I poured over every word, and attempted to memorize huge tracts of text books, rather than using information and models about how to effectively take in information through repeated and rapid reviews. Now I am a little better at that.
But I have been out of graduate school since 1996.
I also did not have any experience with a computer, which changed rather quickly as soon as I went to the library and discovered that my old friend, the card catalog, was now stored on a computer.
So my advice to college counseling students is to learn Heartmath or some mindfulness technique, and to use it frequently.
My experience shows me that the more I relax, the better I listen, comprehend, and remember, not just for the sake of a test, but for the sake of my clients.
I have tried a lot of self-improvement techniques over the years, and Heartmath is the most precise and economical and effective for my in my personal and professional life.
In fact, relaxation is a significant key to two recently discovered capacities of the human brain, neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, which will subtly and powerfully impact your memory.
Neurogenesis is the growth of new brain cells every day. If we take care of our brain and body fitness, those new neurons migrate to the hippocampus and are laid down in the memory making part of the brain.
Neuroplasticity is what neurons do when they are challenged by a novel learning experience and your college counseling studies will provide lots of those. Neurons form new connections, and those new neurons will become part of an existing circuit when we learn something new.
What can diminish the brain's neurogenesis and neuroplasticity? Stress hormones, for one.
How long does it take for you to create a stress hormone? About 1/18th second, at the top end.
Michael Merzinich,Ph.D., a leading researcher in the neuroplasticity field, says that Senior drivers need to be prepared to deal with changing driving conditions in 1/45th second which is about 4 times faster than you can blink your eyes.
So relaxation for college counseling students needs to be attended to frequently, and Heartmath is just the tool, because you can attend to the time between heart beats which is much closer to that 1/18th second or 1/45th second threshhold than most relaxation techniques.
Heartmath also opens higher perceptual centers in the brain where you can practice another novel learning experience called Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro, which will increase your IQ.
Really, on an IQ test too.
Would You Share Something That You Are Grateful For?
When I was beginning my personal growth journey, a wise person told me that when I was feeling resentful or afraid or sad, that I should remember the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was ready to feel better. That phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.