Kelly Counselor's Conversations

A discussion about life and how school counseling fits into it all

#ASCA15: The Takeaway

on July 9, 2015

After three years of planning and REALLY trying to go to the American School Counselor Association Conference, I was finally able to make the trek to Phoenix for five days.  After crying at least once each of the first three days missing my son Ace, I was finally able to fully relax and absorb the amazing experience of being in the company of some of the best and brightest school counselors in the world (yes, I said world.  We were joined by others from Canada, China, and even a few countries in Africa!).

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been asked the same three questions: “did you have fun?” (yes), “was it hot?” (GOD, yes), and “what did you like the most?” (hmmmmm….).

My initial most exciting reason turned out to be the final one as well- to connect and network with school counselors I had gotten to know in both real life and through Twitter chats (#scchat, #hscchat, #escchat, #scin30).  I had built this up in my mind to be the “school counseling Oscars”.  And it was.

My first day of conference sessions left me feeling pretty disappointed- the topics were very specialized and sounded specific to my school’s needs, but didn’t turn out to be quite what I had expected.  I switched up my game plan for day 2, and instead went to sessions where I knew the presenter would be captivating and would connect with the audience.  This plan did not disappoint (mental note for ASCA16 in New Orleans)!

Of course you pay for and plan for a great learning experience at a national conference (and you should very well get one), but I realized that even without that, it was still worth it simply to get out of your comfort zone, connect with others just as passionate as you, and form relationships that will serve you well for years to come.  This, my friends, pays you dividends.

Which presenters did I learn the most from?  The ones who connected the best and were the most relateable.  Were they always the most educated and credentialed?  Nope.  This made my think, do my students care about my degrees and certifications?  Nope.  They want to connect.

There are many, many absolutely outstanding counselors that will never go to the ASCA Conference.  But the ones that go ALL have a little “something extra.”  It’s a honor to know many of them.

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