Once a year a group of friends I attended graduate school with send out a chain of emails with dates. Aside from the string of jokes, and links to funny youtube videos that follow, we all check our calendars and respond with our availabilities. The dates are for our annual Counseling Program Alumni Night; an event a few of us started after graduating as a way to stay connected with each other, return to old stomping grounds, enjoy each others company, and have fun.
In the short years that have passed, our night has become more about celebrating our growing relationships as colleagues and counselors, than a night of singing Bon Jovi at a karaoke…. although there is still plenty of that going on. We talk about issues we’re facing as young counselors, what is breaking us, and what is making us stronger. It’s a time for us to offer feedback, support, and guidance to our peers. Our Annual Alumni night has morphed into our own personal “Class of 2008 Annual Conference;” including 6 hours of professional workshops, Shepherds Pie, but unfortunately no CE’s.
My peers and I schedule this annual event to stay connected, but whether it’s a night out, a phone call, an email, or text.; reconnecting with friends, colleagues, and mentors in any way can offer great avenues for stress relief, professional growth, and personal fulfillment. We are there to support each other, share a laugh, and give a boost to one another. As the ACA Conference approaches I am reminded of the great opportunity it offers us as professionals to get together, reconnect and meet new friends, and share a laugh on a grander scale. I hope to see you there!
Jaime Castillo is a counselor who works for a non-profit agency in New York City.