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I look back with gratitude for the person who contacted me for this work; I still remember vividly I was grieving for my son; it was only a month my son passed away. I was struggling to cope with the loss, and totally disoriented. I did not want to take up any work immediately for the grief was too much to handle. I was not even sure whether I will be able to do justice that to for the post of a counselor in the University. I bluntly said no and chose to stay at home for the next one month. My friends comforted me; my family stood by me and one particular colleague did not give up and he persistently kept calling me to take up this job.
Finally I gave in and told him that I will take 40 days and after that will let him know my status of joining. Exactly after 40 days I get the call requesting me to at least meet the concerned person once and then decide to join later.
So with grief in my heart I went to the University and met Dr Diana Monteiro who was the person in charge of the counseling centre. Instantly we connected and thanks to Dr Diana she saw the potential in me to be a counselor; when I was totally shattered and broken. I started as a part time 3 days a week for a month and within a month I became full time counselor. I am also thankful to my coordinator Prof. C Beena who trusted me with the centre and gave me the space and opportunities to grow; despite a lot of challenges and social unrest.
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Simultaneously I also helped myself – I took up swimming in the campus pool every day for two full years to cope with my own sadness; then went on to participate in the district level swimming competitions, and taught my daughter to swim in the deep waters. Took up Yoga nearby my residence and updated my skills in the art of meditating. Learnt to restructure my own thinking patterns, attended ongoing continuing education in the area of counseling, practiced affirmations, motivated myself to remain grateful and also took up a lot of reading to understand psychological problems. I felt like a wounded healer; tying my own wounds up and also helping others to take care of their wounds.
I am grateful for this opportunity that came to me in my life at the appropriate timing. It looked like the post of a counselor was waiting for me from all eternity; at the same time equipping me to deal with varied issues in order that when I reach this place. I am capable and competent enough to handle all types of issues of the students. I turn back looking at my career graph and feel so happy and fulfilling as I have spent more than two decades in the service sector, gaining experience and learning so much from every area of work.
Sahayam, Osmania University’s Psychological Counseling centre has given me so much in the last five years. It made me continue my education so that academically I could be sound and relevant. It took me to places that I never dreamt off as I got myself trained by the WHO on substance abuse, providing me opportunity to be trained as Master Trainer for the Global Funding programmes on AIDS TB & Malaria Round 7 & also helped me get involved in counseling supervision.
This place gave me confidence and motivation to get into research; which I have never done before. It made me interact, discuss, explore and experiment in preparation and presentation of papers related to mental health, counseling, domestic violence, substance abuse to name a few in both the National and International conferences within the campus and also outside the city.
Today I am filled with
gratitude for the work I do and the meaning I derive from working as a
counselor…. .There is still so much to learn and so much to do. My heart
overwhelms with gratitude to all my students who have met me, so many of them
in the last 5 years, trusting me completely to share their inner most
struggles. I am honoured and privileged to take this with great reverence and
give myself in service.
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Every student and some staff who have utilized the services, has in many ways altered my perceptions, providing me with new insights and challenged me to update my knowledge and skills, broken down my prejudices, to become compassionate and kind to everyone I encounter not only in the counseling session but also in my daily life. I serve with gratitude and pray that this centre continues and expands its services for the students who feel least, lost and the last.
With gratitude !!!