Everyone’s journey in life is different. Whether it’s one person’s dream to play a professional sport, dance on Broadway, sing on the Voice, or become a doctor, we are all different and hold very different dreams and desires. We are called to be different people and weave into God’s kingdom in different ways. Even though I wasn’t aware of it, God has called me to be a counselor. My journey to become a licensed professional counselor has been different than that of some of my fellow colleagues at Beacon of Hope.
When I graduated high school, I was all too sure that I was destine to become a nurse. I had skewed all of the career assessments I took in high school and applied to Grand Valley State University with the idea that I would apply to GVSU’s nursing program and become a nurse. Like many of our “silly” human plans, I am sure God was looking down on me belly laughing. He let me learn the hard way that becoming a nurse was not in my future.
In order to gain the much needed medical experience, and to make myself look better on my nursing application, I applied and worked in the emergency room at St. Mary’s hospital. During my short time there, I learned that I was not going to be a nurse. I wasn’t afraid of blood or grossed out by the sometimes gruesome medical cases I saw, but I felt defeated watching person after person come in for the same exact illness. The cases that impacted me the most were the mental health cases and intoxicated homeless individuals that came into the emergency room night after night. I felt a push to do something about this; I just wasn’t sure at the time what that would look like. One thing I did know was that I wasn’t meant to be a nurse and that I had, what I thought, “wasted” my time in undergraduate. At this point, I just needed to graduate as soon as possible for the least amount of money possible, meaning I would graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science, majoring in Allied Health Science with a minor in Psychology.
After graduating from Grand Valley State University, I moved to Alaska, where I worked at the local Girl Scout Counsel. During this time, I learned that I thoroughly enjoyed working in the non-profit world and that my future career would have to be in a non- profit, still not knowing what God had in store for me. While in Alaska I met several people, each one of those people telling me that I should be a counselor, one friend in particular pushing and hounding me constantly. In order to make my friend stop, I told her that I would apply to a counseling graduate program, and IF I got into the program, then I would go and get my Master’s in Counseling, all the time assuming that I would never get in. Sure enough, I was accepted into the program three months after applying, and staying true to my word, started the program that fall.
My resistance in becoming a counselor did not stop with being accepted and starting the program. Up until just a couple of months ago, I still had no desire to sit in a room with no windows for hours on end. I had no desire to become a licensed professional counselor; I figured that I would graduate with my Master’s and figure something out after that. After spending time at Beacon and the amazing staff and interns, my tune has changed. Over the past couple of months, I have looked into licensure requirements and started jumping through the hoops to get my LLPC (Limited Licensed Professional Counseling licensure). I am doing it; I am pushing past the fear of failure and stepping out on a limb by attempting to get my LLPC, which will hopefully transition into my LPC in the somewhat near future. Beacon of Hope has been an amazing blessing in so many ways. It is through my internship that I have started to open my eyes to God’s plan.
It amazes me how God puts people and events into your life for specific reasons. Everything in life happens for a purpose, we just have to sit and listen and wait for that plan. So many different components had to work or fall through in my journey for me to be where I am today. I come to a “volunteer” job excited and happy to be here. I love every moment at Beacon of Hope and can’t wait to continue to volunteer once I become a LLPC.
Olivia began interning with us in November and enjoys working with a variety of client populations. In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking with her family, and camping.