In both the board and the text-in service, I have found myself suggesting that someone check in with their school guidance counselor/office quite often lately. When you're dealing with the tough stuff, reaching out for help & support can be intensely scary, which is likely why this suggestion seem to be brushed off way too much.
Thing is though: these people are trained to deal with issues that commonly affect young people such as yourselves, and also usually have the skinny on decent outside resources/help. This is seriously valuable & why they're there.
Also, when you're dealing with something tough, might be nice to have a trusted adult who sees you around school know what you're going through, and can offer you an encouraging smile or eye contact in the hallways from time to time.
They can also intercede on your behalf if you're having trouble in class due to whatever issues.
So. If you've used the resource that is your school's guidance office (in Middle, High, or College/Uni) please share here! You don't need to go into details about the problems you were/are having unless you want to, of course.
[ 04-18-2010, 11:10 PM: Message edited by: Alice ]
-------------------- The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you. - B.B. King Posts: 1180 | From: WA | Registered: Apr 2006
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When I was in hs, we didn't have a guidance counselor (small, religious school). However, when I went to college, I did end up utilizing the counseling office and was very glad that I did. Without going into too much detail, I had a very rough first few years. A family member was seriously injured in an accident, I had a bad health scare, wasn't happy in my major, had issues with my mom...and eventually ended up seeking out the counseling office because I just couldn't manage on my own anymore.
Making that call was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I think I picked up and set down the phone a hundred times before I got the courage up to dial. My first therapist wasn't a good fit, but the second was okay (probably not the best, but good enough to help me). I had sessions weekly for a month, then every other week for about another 3 months (I think). She was able to help me work though the way I was feeling and come up with strategies to deal with some of the challenges I was facing. For example, I had to take a medication that made it difficult for me to participate fully in some classes. My therapist worked with my other doctor to get me a note for one of my classes where I was having trouble so that the professor would understand my challenges. Overall, it was a very beneficial experience for me.
-------------------- Sarah Liz Posts: 7316 | From: USA | Registered: Oct 2000
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I didn't really do much with my hs guidance counselor, but while I was still at uni I used their counseling office a lot. I had my own therapist but if I needed anything extra or someone on campus who could help coordinate with the disability office and my professors because of a problem surrounding my bipolar disorder the counseling office was always there. They helped me coordinate leaving one semester when I needed to be hospitalized, and helped me reintegrate the next semester when I returned. I was also lucky enough to get a spot in one of their support groups which helped a lot as well.
I know for me that without the disability office and the counseling office being there as a support I very well may not have made it to graduating.
Posts: 46 | From: USA | Registered: Jul 2008
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Unfortunately, my guidance experience in HS was just downright awful. I had trouble with some really terrible relationships, and some not so great home life. Not to mention all the trouble with bullying in my school.
Any time I tried to get help, I was basically told there wasn't much she could do, and she was usually always too busy to just sit and talk to me. I think that was what I needed more than anything, someone who would have helped me sort through what I was feeling, and give me some kind of effective ideas to handle things. She was more like a 'help you get into college secretary' than anything else.
I did finally find someone who was able to help me at my school. My AP Lit teacher. Honestly, she was more like a mom to us than our own moms were. The important thing was that there was someone there.
I really hope everyone has a better experience than I did. My school was a very close minded, small town system. Anyone who came out was harassed mercilessly, and no one would really step in to help. We had several students transfer out.
I just wish I had been as outspoken then as I was now.
Posts: 43 | From: Raleigh, NC | Registered: Jan 2010
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I had a positive experience with the counselor at my uni last year. It took me weeks to work up the courage to contact her after I realized that everything was becoming too much to deal with. Even though I can never say half the things I want to face-to-face, and I tend to forget a counselor's messages/suggestions if I don't have them written down, overall I'm glad that I did have those talks.
She helped me make sense of how I was feeling, and the reasons for that - it turns out I've been dealing with emotional abuse at home for as long as I can remember, but I didn't have the perspective or resources to recognize that the situation wasn't normal - the abuser told me from a young age that the way they felt and acted was my fault.
Speaking to someone trained to understand those issues has been a real lifeline - a way to recover some sanity while living in a less than ideal situation. It hasn't made everything better, and I never expected it to, but it has helped, and I would definitely recommend it.
Posts: 8 | From: Australia | Registered: Apr 2010
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I had the most positive experience in the world with my high school psychologist.
In my junior year of high school, I was experiencing not only problems at home, but also problems with my self-esteem and my personal relationships. I had just lost my house, so my family was staying at a campsite until we could find an affordable motel. I had just started a relationship (probably not the wisest idea), and my parents were going through a ridiculous custody battle. I stood to be separated from my younger brother, who I had essentially parented since birth and with whom I am very close. On top of all of this, I was suffering from bulemia at the time.
I was probably in his office for two hours a day, for at least two months. He listened to everything I said, and he actually gave me solid advice. He walked me through a break-up, and even called my best friend in to console me when it happened. I didn't feel as if I was being judged in the least. If it hadn't been for him, I don't know how I would have juggled all of those stressors and responsibilities.
In sum: I am a huge advocate of school psychologists/guidance counselors! You won't know until you try.
Posts: 7 | From: Virginia | Registered: Oct 2009
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I had a really bad experience with my Middle School Guidance councilors. (You've probably read about bits and snippits in other posts) Basically I reported a gun threat and a stalking incident, and they didn't take it seriously, and told me to let the stalker/gun shooter walk me home. And I was told to talk it out with the boy. They didn't even report it to the police. They also didn't take ANY of my harassment reports seriously. I had this one kid grabbing my boobs and stuff, and they acted like it was no big deal. They also told me to stop drawing, which is a huge stress reliever.
So, basically, if I could, I would call the district and get them fired. But I don't know if I can. I can't remember their names.
However, my guidance councilor in high school is okay. She took me very seriously when I reported sexual harassment stuff against this creep. And when I told her I was depressed/suicidal, she checked on me for the next couple of months to make sure I was coping. She also talked me through it when the aforementioned stalker killed himself. She even offered to write me a note and call my parents so I could have the next couple of days of school. (I declined, because I figured I should distract myself instead of moping about the house, but it was really quite nice of her) Even though she's a bit flakey on the class scheduling sometimes, she seems nice enough.
So, I guess it all depends on the person!
Posts: 116 | From: SL | Registered: Mar 2010
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Like most others, I've had some good experiences and bad ones. In middle school, my very awesome choir director always made herself available to us. I was going through a lot of stuff that year, and she picked up on it. She then moved up to my high school as a counselor (unfortunately not in my office) and made sure we all knew that we could talk to her. I never really opened up to her, but it was nice knowing there was someone there for the students that genuinely cared. She also wrote me a very nice letter of recommendation for college
My designated hs counselor (my school was very big) was not so great, though. When I had mono with a nasty lymphatic infection, she (quite illegally) chased down one of my doctor's notes and called my doctor to investigate the details of my illness. She never asked for my or my parents' consent. So that obviously didn't make me feel very comfortable talking to her. On top of that, she tended to take the side of the teacher/administrator over the student, even when the student was more than likely in the right. So all around, she wasn't at all an advocate for the students as she was supposed to be.
Like Nightshade said, most counselors in my school were WAY more interested in making sure kids were on schedule to graduate and get into college than anything. In my opinion, there should be a separate counselor/administrator for that in high schools.
Posts: 97 | From: USA | Registered: Jan 2010
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