For the past 4 ½ months, I have been the graduate assistant at the Center and throughout that time it has shown me what I’m capable of and what my limits were. Additionally, how little I knew about women (beyond my knowledge of being a Women’s and Gender Studies minor as an undergraduate) in industries like theater and film, sport communication, and business thanks to my incredible co-workers and the events we put on throughout the fall semester.
Throughout the semester, I took photographs at various events, managed social media accounts, assisted in creating programs, created event fliers, and managed the Healing Arts program throughout campus. Managing Healing Arts with workshops provided by A Window Between Worlds proved more to me how impactful art-making for leisure was as far as coping with daily stressors of being a college student amongst other identities. As an artist, I found release in leisurely art-making and that’s how I found the field of Art Therapy in high school.
As an Art Therapy major during my undergraduate career, I had seen how transformative intentional art-making was in a supervised art therapy session related to individual experiences of their domestic life, interpersonal and romantic relationships, trauma, family, sexuality and sex, cultural and religious identities, etc. Facilitating Healing Arts workshops at Hospital Hill, replenishing Stepping Stones for Healing Arts corners around campus, and managing I Can, We Can and Shrink Your Stress gave me an inadvertent, small taste of what it might be like for me as an aspiring art therapist to facilitate an art therapy session in groups or individually. These workshops, events, and corners have affirmed why I want to be an art therapist in the future.
Not only did my experience as a graduate assistant affirm my goal of becoming an art therapist after I obtain my licensed professional counselor (LPC) license, but it affirmed my love for advocating for others especially with my involvement in Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, I Can, We Can, “I Am Enough” photo campaign, Women Who Lead, and reaching out to organizations that also advocate for others like League of Women Voters, MOCSA, Barrier Babes, UMKC’s Counseling Services, UMKC LGBTQIA+ Affairs, and Violence Prevention and Response Program. I have already decided as a licensed professional counselor, I would like to work for a non-profit organization or at least for a company that truly advocates for their patients and employees.
Unfortunately, I am leaving at the end of the fall semester to pursue other educational opportunities, but I am so grateful for what I have learned, the friendships I made during the process, and the hard skills that will be an asset to me in my future counseling career and in other jobs up until my counseling career. Working at the Women’s Center was truly a learning experience of what I am capable of and what I still have to improve on, but it has cemented my love for counseling, art, and advocating for human rights. I hope to combine all of those interests into my counseling practice.