In April 2013, I was privileged to hear Robert Waterman speak. The significance of this event is Robert Waterman founded Southwestern College, which I began attending as a Counseling student later that fall. Much of what he shared provided confirmation of that decision. I have known since I was 20 years old that becoming a counselor was my dream, my heart’s desire, my calling, in alignment with my life’s path; all of these descriptions would be accurate. As I embarked upon a search for the place I’d be calling home as a professional, degree-seeking student, I had a list of criteria–what I was looking for, as many of us do for tracking the important decisions in our lives. At the top of my list of what I was looking for in a graduate school was something I don’t find easy to put into words. I was looking for a school that encouraged me to be more of who I am, a beautiful divine being having a human experience with the intention of living a life in service to others in the counseling profession, rather than sitting in classrooms for two to three years so that I could become trained to become a counselor. What Southwestern College begins with is the awareness that each student choosing this path already has the knowledge, wisdom, and loving presence inside him or herself to be an effective counselor and, given a nurturing, supportive, rigorous, and growth-promoting environment, we have the ability to awaken those qualities within ourselves.
I chose Southwestern because it is a place where I was guided and encouraged, but not told which mold I had to fit into in order to be successful. In the field of counseling/therapeutic practice, it is of paramount importance that as the person in the counselor’s chair, I am able to go within myself and recognize that it is my work, dedication, and loving, intentional awareness which call me to sit in that chair.
Southwestern College is a place where students are encouraged to come alive, utilizing the curriculum, faculty, cohort and everything in the experience as resources for evolution in consciousness.