How did you become the College & Career Counselor at Aiea High School? What made you decide to get into this field?
After many years of teaching, I began to realize that I really enjoyed working with smaller groups and one-on-one with students to help them pursue their goals and dreams. I personally had made many mistakes in high school and waited until my senior year to really begin researching colleges and I wanted to help students not make the same mistakes I made. I also wanted to help students see that there are many options and my goal is to help them find the best fit for them. I always believed that a College & Career Counseling position would be a good fit for me with my background, but I never dreamed it would be my first full-time counseling job.
In the Spring of 2015, I applied for the Aiea High School College & Career Counseling position, which is usually not a posted position as most of these positions are filled internally. But I was offered the job by Mrs. Kim Sanders, the principal of Aiea at the time, and I am forever grateful for her seeing my potential and her willingness to give me a chance to work with these students. I am truly blessed and have really enjoyed working with my students at Aiea High School.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I am blessed to be able to work with students and help them with the planning of their future. It really is the greatest job. If I can help a student in any way move forward towards their goals and dreams, I am so thankful and excited. As students find their own strengths, likes, and dislikes, I am so pleased and happy to see them learning and growing into the mature adults I know they can all become. Every day is a great day, but it’s especially great when I am visited by a student who says, “Guess what Mrs. Schrock?” or “Mrs. Schrock, I have great news!” It really makes my day when I see my students learning and growing and making strong decisions for themselves. It is rewarding to watch and it’s especially rewarding to be able to stand before each graduating class congratulating them on their success and wishing them well as they continue pursue their own adventure.
How does NACAC play a role in your career?
As a new counselor, it is amazing to me how much NACAC offers in support and resources. I have not yet been able to attending the national conference, but I look forward to being able to do this in the future. The local support from our Hawaii ACAC is also amazing as I would not be able to survive without the support of my colleagues at other schools that I can email or call for help when needed. The Journal of College Admission helps me see beyond my day-to-day responsibilities and helps me see the big picture. These resources have really helped me grow and I am thankful for the support provided.
Do you have any advice for professionals who are new to the field?
Being new myself, I believe it’s all about knowing your limits and reaching out for help from those who have the expertise you need in the moment. My greatest immediate challenge in my first year was starting to understand the financial aid process. I reached out to my colleagues and found a tremendous amount of resources and help to get me through my first year. This year, I sensed greater confidence in myself and I was able to sit with students and families on my own to help them through the financial aid process. I always warn families that I don’t have all the answers, but I will do my best to help and tell them that there is always someone we can call when we get stuck. I found that reaching out, asking for help, meeting with colleagues, and thanking them for the help they offered was really what helped me the most.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing counselors today?
I feel that my greatest challenge is working with and building up students to take full responsibility for their future. High school students today are very busy and don’t always have the best strategies in time management and prioritizing tasks. They have access to so much information, but don’t always know how to process all of it. They often procrastinate or put very important information or details off to the side. It’s also challenging to have them sit and think beyond today when they have seven classes, a part-time job, many important social events, clubs, athletics, and family responsibilities to attend to first. Many of my students don’t always have strong family support at home, adding even more of a challenge to an already full mind and schedule.
When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
I enjoy spending time at the beach with my husband, reading, spending time with my family, and serving at my church, New Hope Haleiwa. It’s so important to me to stay connected to family and friends that help keep me grounded and help point me back to what is most important in my life -- serving God and serving others.
If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
That’s a hard one! I have always loved the Little Mermaid story -- the Princess, the water, the singing --- so I guess I would be Ariel. But I always love fictional characters who can fly. So maybe Tinkerbell!
What five words best describe you?
Organized, planner, helper, encourager, and personally, a worshipper of God.
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