Live fromGSE, our Student Ambassadors are pleased to present the second installment in our “A Day In The Life” GSE Blog series. Matt S. is a current student in the Mental Health Counseling M.S.E. program, in the midst of his year of externship before graduation in May 2013. Read on to learn more about his life as a GSE student in New York City!
For Mental Health Counseling (MHC) students, the second year of the program is when we finally begin our first clinical experience. Pre-practicum courses in individual and group counseling, in which we have honed our skills as aspiring psychotherapists by practicing on our peers, have already been completed. At this point, year-long externships, which require a commitment of roughly twenty hours per week over two full semesters, are combined with continued attendance in classes in order to earn the 60 credits required for completion of the Masters degree. In addition, this is the time to begin thinking about post-degree career options, doctoral programs, or both.
I wake up around 7 a.m., and make a strong cup of coffee. Depending on how much of a jolt I need, I may reach for second one (I strictly cut myself off from coffee at 10 a.m. to keep the habit in check). After my wife leaves for work, I head out for a run in Central Park or to the gym. After a quick breakfast, I squeeze in a couple of hours of school work, pack my lunch, and if I am operating with optimal efficiency, throw something into the slow-cooker for dinner. I leave my apartment at 11:15 a.m. and take the subway down to Herald Square, where I work as an extern at a counseling center.
After arriving at the office, I check my mailbox, review my client schedule for the day, and look over my notes from prior sessions. I conduct two individual therapy sessions, then wolf down my lunch and prepare for my weekly hour of supervision at 3 p.m. Following supervision, I leave my externship site and take the subway to Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus. When I arrive at Fordham, I prepare for my Field Experience course (the class that corresponds to the externship), which starts at 4:50pm. If I have arrived a few minutes early, I catch up with my classmates while downing a handful of nuts and an apple. On a typical day, the first hour of Field Experience is spent providing feedback to a classmate’s case presentation, while the second hour is set aside for group supervision.
At 7 p.m., I walk down the hall to my Ethics class, which MHC students take during the first semester of their externships. Through group presentations, role-plays, and class discussions, we examine different ethical dilemmas we will likely need to navigate as future mental health counselors. After class ends, I meet with two other students to coordinate work on our group presentation, which we are scheduled to deliver the following week.
At 9:15 p.m. I head home on the subway, and 45 minutes later, I walk in the door, sit down to a late dinner, and catch up with my wife. I try to avoid turning on the television, which inevitably leads to my staying up later than I should. Before calling it a night, I pack my bag for the following day (all of which will be spent at my externship site). If I’m not too tired, I try to read for 15 minutes before going to sleep. It all begins again in the morning…