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Finding My Path

by Jaclyn Foulis on October 12, 2021
Finding My Path

Jaclyn Foulis is a graduate student in the M.S. Ed School Counseling program who works as a Graduate Assistant in Accessibility Services

The decision to study school counseling was far from easy.  While I was a psychology student here at Niagara University, I vacillated between many fields: PhD in Clinical Psychology, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, college professor, high school teacher.  The list could keep growing. 

As an undergraduate, I wanted to be as active on campus as possible.  I found that emerging myself as a student was the perfect opportunity to grow as an individual and professionally.  I worked in the Clinical Psychology Research Lab conducting research on college student drinking which helped shape me academically today.  I also did my best to stay involved in clubs on campus that shaped my interests.  I carry a passion for mental health and ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.  Seeking help should be seen as a great strength and Active Minds helped opened doors for me to further establish myself within the profession and stand up for what I believe in.  

Through these components in undergrad, I began thinking about what profession can combine my passion for mental health, while also working with students.  I enjoyed tutoring psychology classes and developing relationships with students, but aside from psychology, I was not driven in other subjects strong enough to consider teaching.  With many conversations among professors and my family, I decided to intern with a school counselor at BOCES.  Once there, the door to this amazing field was opened to me and I felt a sense of belonging.  I found that school counseling has a combination of psychology and mental health with the added bonus of entering classrooms to teach lessons. 

Since making the choice to enter into school counseling, the decision to apply to Niagara University was the simplest and best choice I could have made.  I have always loved being at this campus for undergrad; I had amazing professors and advisors, a beautiful campus to explore and one where I felt safe, and a place that provided me an education where I could advance myself academically and personally.  Niagara University’s emphasis on Vincentian values was an important deciding factor.  I admired being at a Catholic University where I felt supported spiritually as well.

Once accepted and emerged into the program, my worries and anxieties truly melted away as I met amazing and compassionate professors along with peers with common interests.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the small class sizes NU offers which helps to spark strong conversations and relationships with colleagues.  I also am a Graduate Assistant where I feel I make a difference on campus.  I currently work in Accessibility Services where I aid in assisting students to help them be as successful as possible.  I also have the honor to serve on the Academic Senate where I get to share my voice in important academic policies.

For those unsure about what path to take, I have some advice.  Take a moment to think about what makes you happy, what makes you excited.  I found that too many opinions just added to the chaos of making a decision.  However, that is not to say that I did not value my family, friends, and professors’ advice.  At the end of the day, you are the one who does the work and needs to feel proud of what you do.  I know that choosing Niagara University to complete my graduate studies was the best decision I could have made.  I feel supported and encouraged by this school and am grateful for the opportunities it has allotted me thus far and cannot wait for what my future has planned for me.

For more information on the M.S. Ed. School Counseling program, please contact us or call 716.286.8336.