Everyone has a relationship with their guidance counselor, but the bond between student and counselor was not always as close as it is today.
“I honestly did not really have a relationship back then, it was so different than the way it is now,” said sophomore-class counselor Sally Gerber.
Of course, not all schools have as many guidance counselors as Carroll, which has eight. According to a report published by Chalkbeat.org, the average counselor in Indiana is responsible for over 600 students, whereas the counselors at Carroll are responsible for about half that amount. Additionally, Carroll has several other individuals on hand to help students with their personal or academic problems, such as a therapist and student resource officer.
Therefore, Carroll’s counselors not only have more time to spend with students, but also see them more often than most counselors.
“Nobody ever saw a counselor unless you had a problem maybe, or you weren’t graduating,” Gerber said.
In a school where counselors help students to develop long-term plans and provide frequent academic advice, the concept of having a counselor who you rarely see may seem foreign.
Yet, that is how it was for not only Gerber but also current senior-class counselor Tracy Cross, who had three different guidance counselors when he was in school, and did not see them often. However, Cross did have a unique relationship with his third counselor.
“First of all, he was my ninth grade basketball coach,” Cross said. “My senior year he was half my guidance counselor, half my advanced biology teacher.”
These guidance counselors, while not necessarily inspired by their own former counselors, came to discover that the profession was the right fit for them.
“I always liked school, whether it was elementary, middle, high school, college… I’ve always liked kids, I think I wanted to be helpful,” Cross said.
Gerber had a similar experience, desiring to enter the profession due to familial influences.
“I started out because I wanted to be a counselor, some kind of counselor,” Gerber said. “And I have a lot of people in my family in the education field.”
Thus, despite the fact that Gerber and Cross did not necessarily see their counselors frequently, they came to the realization that the profession was the right fit for them.
However, the experiences of these two differs radically from that of sophomore class counselor Megan Fizer, whose own guidance counselor did in fact serve as an inspiration and encouraged Fizer to take on the role of counselor.
Fizer attended Snider High School, where counselors are assigned students according to the students’ last names, as opposed to grade level (as students are assigned at Carroll).
“I was very close with [my counselor]… I saw her pretty frequently, every two to three weeks… I even kept in touch with her after I graduated… we still are close and in touch even to this day,” says Fizer.
Fizer was “definitely” impacted by her counselor and had desired to make a similar impact as an adult.
Unfortunately, however, not all guidance counselor impact their students in a positive way. However, some good can come from a bad relationship.
Freshmen counselor Kristen Boland did not have a positive experience with her counselor, and the experience motivated her to enter school counseling.
“She inspired me because I strive to be different,” Boland said. “I want to be the kind of school counselor that I wanted to have.”
Therefore, Carroll’s counselors aspire to provide the best guidance that they can, and the students of Carroll are all the better for it. For whether it’s merely to outline a four year plan or something larger, every student sees their guidance counselor, and every student is impacted by these interactions, one way or another.