So Far at NU: Two Fundamental Lessons

by Elizabeth Rakowski on October 11, 2016
So Far at NU: Two Fundamental Lessons

Elizabeth Rakowski is a first semester graduate student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Niagara University. She also works in the Office of Residence Life as a graduate assistant.

I am a new person.

When I look in the mirror some mornings before starting another day of ceaseless possibilities, I still cannot believe that it is my reflection gazing back at me. I see a confident, young woman who has grown into the community built here at Niagara University, not the nervous girl who worried about tripping over her feet as she walked the graduation stage only four short months earlier. Not only am I starting my first semester in the clinical mental health counseling program, but I am also a residence director for the Office of Residence Life and I have to say that I have only had time to flourish.

In this brief time, I have learned two fundamental lessons. First, listen just to listen. We often hear what our peers and colleagues have to say only to respond or give advice. It is essential to simply listen at times. Second, kindness can stretch a long distance. As a former philosophy major and a future counselor, I have learned that no two people can ultimately understand what the other individual is attempting to convey. However, my counseling classes and my interactions as a residence director so far have taught me that compassion closes that gap of misunderstanding, allowing for a genuine synchronizing of our intentions. Like I have said, I have learned a lot in this short amount of time. I have grown wiser, kinder, and more confident.

I am renewed.

For more information on Niagara's clinical mental health counseling program, please contact Dr. Kristine Augustyniak at or call the Graduate Education Office at 716.286.8336.