As an administrative assistant at Huntington University, Hope Brown constantly interacted with students who shared their stories with her. The need to properly guide such students moved Hope toward the decision of pursuing a master’s in counseling.
The adjustment from working part-time and spending time at home to being a graduate student with a counseling
internship was hard but not impossible, thanks to the flexibility of the program and the support of her husband.
“I don’t think you could do grad school, and be a mom and a wife, if your husband was not supportive,” Brown says.
Brown refers to her grad school experience as a self-discovery journey that has given her more confidence.
“Grad school has helped me grow as an individual and as a person,” Brown says. “It has helped me become more of who God created me to be.”
The small class sizes at Huntington provide a greater opportunity for discussion. Through sharing their experiences with each other, the students get to know each other better. Brown states that she has become friends with her peers, who have been there both to support her when sessions with clients have been tough and to celebrate her successes.
Brown appreciates class discussions about integrating faith into counseling. For her, this experience has been one of spiritual growth in which she learned to listen not only to her clients but also to the Holy Spirit.
“I really feel that when you’re using your gifts, it helps your spiritual development,” Brown says. “We’re whole people. We’re not just spiritual, we’re not just physical, we’re not just mental processes—all those aspects work together.”
Brown appreciates the diversity of views offered by the professors in the program. Their different theoretical foundations allow the students to compare and decide which approach suits them best.
“It’s not about counseling one professor’s way, but counseling in a way that fits you and that is within your natural gifts, which may be completely different than somebody else,” Brown says.
Brown admits to have felt out of practice when it came to going back into the routine of being a student, after seven years away from school. But the further she went in the program, the more she adjusted to it.
Her message to mothers who have doubts about going back to school is to follow her example: take one class and then decide if the program suits them.
“I like that you don’t have to commit to going through it with a cohort and be done in two or three years,” Brown says. “There is real flexibility.”