Grateful for where I ended up

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I am thankful for the opportunity to share my Faculty of Education story as I am extremely grateful for my time in the Master program in Counselling Psychology.

I entered the program at a difficult time of my life, having spent nine years in a legal career that ultimately made me miserable. I was somewhat directionless when I began the program, having chosen that path largely by answering the question “When was I happy in the past?” with “When I was studying Psychology as an Undergraduate.” I had the vague notion of perhaps becoming a career counsellor to help others avoid the sort of career pitfalls I had experienced.

My experiences in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University—including but not limited to my coursework—broadened my sense of the sort of work I was capable of and enjoyed, and were, in themselves, enjoyable and enriching. I originally took on TA work purely for financial reasons and was afraid of standing before a class; soon afterwards I discovered my abiding passion for teaching in the post-secondary context.

Working with SFU's Student Learning Commons

I also took the opportunity to complete a practicum, which led to contract work, at what was then the Health, Counselling and Career Centre. There I gained experience in both my original goal, career counselling, and my current field, learning strategies, in addition to relationship-based work with students, an ongoing career theme. I would like to single out Dr. Jeff Sugarman and Dr. David Paterson for their mentorship during and after my Masters.

Where did this all lead? I fulfilled my original career goal of becoming a Career Counsellor, working with SCCI Project Restart in Surrey for four years. Then I received a phone call from Donna McGee Thompson of SFU’s newly created Student Learning Commons asking if she could use a paper I had written for EDUC 877 towards developing SFU’s Student Success Program (now Back on Track).

The rest is history; I have worked at the Student Learning Commons and in the Back on Track Program ever since, applying all of the skills I gained in my Masters degree: teaching, relationship-based work with students, sharing learning strategies. I am so grateful for where I ended up, and SFU’s Faculty of Education played a huge part in my getting there!

Ruth Silverman
M.Ed. 2003

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