That is how Sandy S. Johnson, M.S., LPC describes her career as a housing coordinator and counselor with Lighthouse Counseling Center, Inc. in Montgomery, Alabama.
At one point, Johnson considered a teaching career. When she was later employed as a Youth Service Worker, Johnson felt an education in counseling would give her a better understanding of those she was working to help. That’s when she enrolled at South University, Montgomery.
“I felt it would be beneficial to me to understand the behaviors of the population I was tasked to supervise, thus leading me on my career path as a counselor,” Johnson explained. “Although I did not feel that teaching was the career for me, I have since learned that being a counselor is still teaching, guiding and encouraging others to not only change their lifestyle and behavior, but also educating as well as helping them to understand the unresolved and/or unknown areas of their lives that continue to be problems for them.”
Johnson said South University, Montgomery faculty members were a key part of her educational experience.
“Having [instructors] that are experts in the field was an inspiration to me and allowed me that firsthand experience of the day-to-day knowledge. I am elated that I had these professors, and when I have had to call on them post-graduation, they have always been so helpful.
“Having a master's degree has made me a competitive applicant…[and has] given me the confidence in myself to accomplish any goals I may set for myself,” Johnson said.
Johnson now coordinates the operation of the housing program at Lighthouse Counseling Center, where she supervises three case managers to make sure clients receive everything from basic life skills to medical care and food and clothing. She is also the primary counselor for clients who have moved from a treatment environment into their housing program.
And Johnson has some advice for those considering higher education or an advanced degree.
“I would say to any student that it is truly a sacrifice to seek higher education but it is worth it and if they put in the work, the payoff is much greater.”
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