Today I was honored to be asked for my experience at Bellevue University. For those of you, prospective students, whom are considering entry into the Bellevue University – Master of Science in Clinical Counseling (MSCC) program… I implore you to read on.
This is my story…
“After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.” (Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, Act 2) I was like Arthur – liked – but not well liked. I had spent nearly a decade in sales and it was time for a change. I asked myself a simple question: “If I continue to do this for a living, who’s going to show up at my funeral?” The answer wasn’t pretty… maybe, if I was lucky, half a dozen close friends and some family.
I had to burn the boats to ensure that I wouldn’t be tempted to go back into automation mode for the sake of safety and money… $65,000 a year for minimal effort as a salesman was very tempting. After the boats were burned I was fully committed – there was no way I could go back to the blind automation of the corporate sales game. If you ask most financially savvy people, investing 2.5 years and nearly $60,000 for the right and the privilege to take a $35,000/year pay-cut isn’t wise. I believed what I would obtain at Bellevue University was priceless. I sought more than just an education – I yearned for personal and professional growth that a paycheck could not provide. The Bellevue University MSCC program delivered something money can’t buy… piece of mind.
The faculty and staff at Bellevue University exceeded my expectations at every turn. The textbooks are generally well chosen and represent best of breed, evidence-based, empirically supported, clinical counseling practice and techniques. The courses are well constructed such that every engaged student leaves with a small piece of a puzzle that will ultimately result in a complete picture of confidence and competence.
Never in my 10 year academic career have I ever been greeted for the first time, in person, with a warm “professional hug.” Dr. Monalisa McGee provided that. I can say with honesty and candor that she generally responds to my emails within minutes – not hours and certainly not days. She has constructed a program in which attention to diversity runs throughout. Under-promising and over-delivering is the order of the day in her office.
I was fortunate to have had Dr. Jane Warren early in the program, online – and again later, in the classroom. It’s extremely unlikely that we someone like me would hit the lottery twice, but I did. Her psychopathology course “set the tone” for my entire program. Under her guidance I endeavored to build a mental health website that has garnered nearly 100,000 hits and over 2,500 subscribers. The success of the site is testament to the fact that the content we study in the MSCC program is both timely and relevant… people don’t search for information they don’t need. Later, in Family Therapy, Dr. Warren showed a great deal of adaptability when the class showed more interest in couples therapy than was being provided by the original course. She guided us to research that answered our specific questions and tailored the course to our specific needs. Her door is always open and I have frequently “dropped in” with no notice just to have a conversation. I am greatly indebted to her for her continued guidance and support.
Dr. Jon Kayne was, and continues to be, an invaluable resource to the program and the students it serves. When I think of Dr. Kayne I think of one word… authenticity. It’s not always politically correct… but it is always authentic. In my mind, Dr. Kayne is an individual who has managed to strike a balance between “donning the veil of professionalism” and “staying true to oneself.” Dr. Kayne is a walking lesson in congruence – living proof that we don’t have to abandon our personal values to be competent professionals.
Last but certainly not least, Professor Christine Salvatore, whom served as both onsite internship supervisor at the Stephen Center HERO program and as an Bellevue professor, was the icing on the cake. What I appreciated most was that she acknowledged that mistakes would be made. I confess, I made (and continue to make) mine. I move forward into the field of clinical counseling knowing that mistakes are grist in the mill of personal and professional growth. A few sentences can’t do justice to Christine’s uncanny ability to seize growth out of the jaws of adversity.
I really can’t do justice to the program in this short essay – feel like I am leaving so many people out. Thank you for your extra effort and personalized attention. Thank you for staying true to yourselves and the educational ideals you aim to represent. Thank you for endeavoring to enhance our ability to think critically and communicate effectively. Thank you for your candor and honesty. Thank you for a priceless journey of self-discovery. Thank you for listening.
Kent Brooks, MS, PLMHP