Whether you're a high school counselor or a private counselor, you've probably experienced some combination of the following stresses:
Not enough time to focus on the admissions part of your job. Working too many hours. Too many letters of recommendation to write. Parents with unrealistic expectations–for their kids, for the college admissions process, or for you. Kids you want to see succeed who are struggling because they don't have the money or a stable home life. Too many kids to to help. Not enough hours to do it. Not enough recognition for everything that you do. Not enough sleep. Too much worry. Too much pressure. Wondering if you're doing any good. Wondering if people appreciate what you're doing. Wondering how much longer you can do it.
On those days where you can feel the stress affecting you, when you know you're just not as eager to face the day as you have been in the past, please remember something.
I don't believe there is any job that is more important than helping kids achieve their educational dreams.
There are other jobs that are just as important–I'm not devaluing the likes of social workers, community organizers or scientist who are trying to cure cancer. But I do not believe there is a profession that makes more of a difference, that has a bigger impact on kids, families and our society, than helping students find their way to college.
If you're helping kids realize their college dreams, you never have to go home at night wondering if you did anything worthwhile with your day. The longer you do it, the more kids there will be who got to college with your help, who found great schools they didn't know about, who better understood the application and financial aid process or were accepted to the college they'd dreamed of attending in part because of help that you gave them.
And there will be some kids who simply would not have made it to college at all without you. Kids who never could have done it on their own and didn't have other people to rely on. Those kids will go on to be college graduates in the world, and they'll be there because of you.
There are a lot of dedicated counselors out there who work very hard and do it all for the kids. If you're one of them, thank you. And keep at it. It's too important for you not to.