Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to get the most out of your ASCA Student Membership!

Hello friends!!

With august coming up, the summer is starting to wind down for many of us. This has been a fun summer for me, but I am very excited to start my middle school internship this fall :) This is another post that I have decided to do for the many school counseling graduate students out there!

Today I wanted to discuss an AMAZING counseling resource...American School Counselor Association membership! So many things come with this membership, and I am so glad that I joined :) I have highlighted some benefits of the membership and how to get the most out of this resource during graduate school:

1. You get discounted membership: Right now, it is only $69 for students, which I am taking advantage of while I can. Once you are a professional, the price goes up to about $129. I will continue to be an ASCA member because it is such a wonderful website and resource :)

Displaying photo.JPG2. ASCA School Counselor Magazine: I love this magazine, and it is one of my favorite things to see when I check my mailbox every month! This magazine is great because I can read articles on so many different aspects of school counseling programs.

3. Do your research: On the ASCA website, you can view school counseling licensure requirements for each state, which can really come in handy when applying for jobs! You can also look at the Professional School Counseling Journal for great journal articles.

4. Resources, resources, and more resources: The ASCA membership comes with so many resources that cater to various topics. The ASCA resource center covers multiple topics including LGBTQ, Substance Abuse, Divorce, Character Education, Dropout Prevention, and much much more! The website provides articles, websites, lesson plans and other resources for each topic!

I hope you found this post to be helpful! You can click HERE to view the full list of ASCA membership benefits, but I wanted to highlight a few in this post!

Enjoy the rest of your summer & have a great school year!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekend Giveaway!

Hello everyone!

 I see many of my favorite counseling blogs doing a giveaway so I have decided to do the same! I created these calendars (8.5 x 14) to use for my internship in the fall. They are slightly larger and are Monday through Friday, which is perfect for work and internship! I also created them black and white so they are cheaper and easier to print at your school or local printing shop! I add color to them by using my colorful pens :) At midnight tonight the giveaway will start and it will end on Monday 7/28 at midnight!  1 Lucky Winner will be selected! 

I will be announcing the winner on my Facebook page on Monday evening so be sure to check it out :) You can enter this giveaway in the following ways:

  • "Like" the Cheerful Counseling Facebook Page in the box below
  • Follow me on Twitter in the box below! 
  • Comment on this blog post
Good Luck! I am excited to do my first giveaway! Don't forget to enter below! 


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Starting your Practicum Experience: Things to keep in mind

Happy Sunday everyone!!

When I was coming up with today's post, I thought about how I felt when I started my practicum. It was a combination of nervousness and excitement! Now, I have decided to highlight a few things to keep in mind when starting your practicum experience that I found to be helpful for me!

1. Take everything in & ask questions: This is an important one! Practicum is a learning experience, so learn as much as you can! Asking questions is a part of learning, and this is a great way to learn more about the profession beyond the classroom! Observe as well as get involved as much as you can to get the most out of your practicum experience.

2. Build your resources: At the start of my practicum, I created a resource binder with divider sections (Personal/Social, Career, Academic, Professional). In this binder, I would add handouts and resources that I accumulated during my experience. Many of these resources were either given to me or some that I found to be helpful for myself.

3. Your supervisors are there to help: I cannot emphasize this enough, your counselor mentor/supervisor is there to help assist you with the learning process. Ask specific questions, and maybe even ideas and resources!

4. Go above & beyond:  You can also get more out of your experience by doing a little more than the minimum. If your supervisor allows it, you can even go in an extra day and learn even more. One of the things that I love most about counseling is the variety of each day! Be careful not to stress yourself out too much, and remember to balance with everything else that you have going on Which brings me to number 5...

5. Practice Self-Care early: The self-care piece is very important, and starting early can go a long way! By learning to practice self-care, you can avoid counselor burn out by making time for yourself even with your busy schedule. Click HERE to check out my self-care blog post!

6.  Stay Organized with everything: I love staying organized, and I mentioned in my previous organization post that I love to keep a binder for everything. I love binders for a number of reasons: they are fun to put together and everything stays in one place! In my binder, I had a section for note taking, my small groups, counseling logs, and materials for classroom lessons that I did. I used the ASCA Lesson Plan Template to plan for my lessons. For my small groups section, I included some printables that I created to help me keep things organized for my group:
You can download these forms for FREE!
Small Group Planning Materials 
Small Group Debriefing Chart

If you are working with elementary students, it may even be helpful to print out a Confidentiality poster and keep it in your binder! You can download my confidentiality sign HERE.

7. Stay on top of your hours- and planning: Remember how many hours you need, and always know how many you have. Planning ahead is also important, and knowing how much time you have to get the hours you need. In my program, we track our hours using excel, which is extremely helpful! I plan to start using calendars this year for internship by writing school closings and important dates ahead of time. This is going to make planning ahead so much easier! It is also helpful to print off the school calendar as well!
You can download my 12-month calendar set for free by clicking HERE. This set only includes Monday through Friday, but I also have a Blank Calendar Printable that has a Sunday start, and a small section for notes if you need it :) They can all be hole punched and placed in your binder, if that's what you choose to use!

8. Do your best: Remember that it is OK not to have all the answers just yet. This is a learning experience, and remember to ask your supervisor questions and consult with him/her as well. Remember, practice makes perfect! The more experience that you get, the better! I am so eager for the fall semester to begin so that I can learn even more :)

Displaying photo.JPGAlso, if you are running small groups, be sure to check out my Tips for Running Small Groups post!

I got together with a friend of mine and we had a counseling craft night, where we created stress balls with feelings faces. They are super easy to make, you can find the instructions HERE. All you need is flour, balloons, pencils, and funnels! We used sharpie markers to draw feelings faces on them! We decided to make this a regular thing! You can always get together with friends in your program and have a counseling craft get-together! In an attempt to practice self-care, we watched a movie to balance things out!

I hope you enjoyed this post!! Enjoy the rest of your summer, and good luck to all the other practicum and internship students! School counselors, do you have any advice for new counselors or those just entering the field? Feel free to comment below!

Until next time,


Saturday, July 12, 2014

A post about self-care...

Hi everyone!!

I hope that the summer is treating everyone well! :) I feel that it is going by super fast, and I am enjoying every minute of it! But I am super excited to be interning at a middle school this fall :) One of my goals for this summer is to work on practicing self-care. I recently asked a question about this on twitter recently and I got a few replies with great ideas! For this post, I have included things that I have come up with on my own as well as tips that I have received! I created this Self-Care acronym that I will discuss throughout the post.

1. Schedule Self Care Time: This is the advice that I received from Twitter on this topic. The Counseling Geek stated that is important to schedule a "no work zone" and time. I completely agree with this! By scheduling the time, you are making it a priority which is what I have been working to do!

2. Enjoy non-counseling related activities: This is a must for me! So far this summer, I have been cooking and baking new recipes! I enjoy this because it helps to relieve my stress and it is something to do in my down time. By having hobbies unrelated to counseling, this gives you a small break from the world of counseling (as wonderful as it is!) so that you can prevent future burnout!

3. List your hobbies: I found this to be extremely helpful in practicing self-care. When I first started, I had to sit down and think of all of my hobbies, so I had something to refer to when I was in need of "me time". I wasn't sure if I had many hobbies, so I also took some time this summer to develop some. For instance, I am spending more time outdoors and enjoying the wonderful weather!

4. Focus on you: It is essential to take time for yourself. At times, we are busy taking care and helping others, but it is important to take a minute for yourself. Reading is a hobby that I have gotten back into and I love it :) No matter how busy the day is I try to take time to read some pages in the book that I am currently reading. Having something (and someone) to make time for is important in practicing self care.

5. Chat & Socialize: In addition to having hobbies, and "me time", it is also important to make time for the special people in your life. During your down time you can call a friend, family member, or special someone to say hello and ask them about their day. I have found this to be helpful,  especially on stressful days. In addition to calling, text messaging or emailing, scheduling in person time is important as well! :) This also helps in scheduling your self-care time!

6. Acknowledge your stress: Know your limits, and pay attention to when you are feeling stressed or on the brink of burnout! When your body is trying to communicate to you, be sure to listen! When you acknowledge the signs, you will know when self-care time is needed. Ignoring the signs can lead to increased stress, which can make it difficult. For example, if you are working on a project, it may be best to put the rest off for another day!

7. RELAX: This goes without saying...but relaxation is important!! Find what helps you relax and make time for that :)

8. Energize: Keep yourself energized! Taking time for yourself will allow to to have energy for the other things and people in your life :)

This post may have been somewhat short and sweet, but I hope that you all found it useful! Enjoy the rest of your summer. I just added some new tabs to the blog page, and my Counseling Library page is up! I have shared all of the counseling titles that I have :) TpT Store page is up as well! :) I am currently working on the "About Me" and "Counseling Must Haves" and they will be up soon!

What tips and strategies do you have for self-care? Feel free to share them, I would love to hear them!!

Until Next Time,


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Saving up for the Conference!!

Hey everyone!!

I have decided to do another post this week! :) Even though I am #notatasca14, I have been following twitter and facebook and seeing all of the counselor learning and fun!! Since I will be graduating next spring, I plan to attend the #ASCA15 conference in Phoenix, Arizona!! I am a person who likes to plan things out well in advance, I have decided to begin planning my trip by beginning to put money aside and planning a little at a time :) In this post, I have included some old tricks of the trade with money saving, planning and organizing to attend the conference for next year :) I have decided to apply my vacation planning and money saving tips for planning to be there!

1. Plan Early: If you plan to attend, it is best to get the ball rolling early. With the conference being a year in advance, sometimes things come up that are unexpected and we can't always help that. Also, we may not always know if we are able to attend this far in advance, but there's nothing wrong with having a plan :) In life, things may not always go as planned. Nonetheless, planning ahead can go a long way! Making sure you book your hotel stay, flights, registration fees, Remember: You can usually get the best rates if you book early! For ASCA, you can register as soon as the first of the year!

2.  Do Your Research: For the conference, you will want to research what hotels are nearby and if you will need transportation to and from. You may also want to research what else is nearby such as food, recreation (if you plan to come early and do other things), etc. Many of this information can even be found on the hotel website. American School Counselor Association (ASCA) lists their upcoming conference dates and locations HERE.

3.Have a system for saving money: Whether its a piggy bank, savings account or keeping money aside in your checking account, have a system that works for you! I personally love my savings account at Capital One 360 and it has a number of features and perks!

  • Automatic Savings Plan: You can set up for money to automatically transfer from your checking account into your savings!
  • Name your savings account: You can give your savings account a name! 
  • Savings Goals: You can set a savings goal with a specific dollar amount and date! 
  • You can do everything online (website and mobile app) Which is super convenient!! 
  • Savings Calculator: I love this feature! If you put in your savings goal and date, it will tell you how much you would have to save monthly or weekly to reach this goal! 
4. List your expenses: This is a great way to organize and plan your trip! By knowing how much you will need to spend, this can help you determine if the conference is in your budget. In addition to registration fees there are other fees associated with the conference! Also, it is good to save more money than you need for spending money or emergencies. 

5. Create a Budget: To attend the conference, I plan continue to budget and cut back on my current spending. By creating a budget, it will help in putting aside the money aside that I will need. I like to set a budget on groceries, eating out, entertainment, etc. 

I hope that you all have found these tips helpful in planning and saving for next year!! ) I cannot wait to attend my first conference to connect and learn from other counselors!! 

Until next time, 

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