Norma Perales — School Counselor
Norma Perales earned her M.Ed. in School Counseling from Lamar University online. She works as a secondary counselor at Mercedes High School in Texas.
"A school counselor's master degree has given me the tools to help students not only to succeed academically but to become proactive by researching ways to advocate for students in order to help them achieve academic, career, and personal/social success."
Job Title and School District:
Secondary Counselor, Mercedes ISD
How has this degree affected your professional outlook? What about personally?
Receiving a master's degree in school counseling has had a positive effect on my professional outlook. After 14 years of teaching, a graduate degree in school counseling made sense. My experience as a teacher gave me the skills and training needed to help students become successful academically; but a M.Ed.'s graduate degree has given me the tools to help students not only to succeed academically but to become proactive by researching ways to advocate for students in order to help them achieve academic, career, and personal/social success.
What was your single biggest takeaway from the program?
My single biggest takeaway from this program is the increase knowledge and skills gained in the field of counseling and earning my master's degree in school counseling.
How much time per week did you spend on your studies?
Describe how having an online option made a degree more accessible for you.
Taking online courses made obtaining this degree a reality. I love that it didn't matter where I would go, I had access to my assignments and webinars.
What was one of the biggest challenges during the program, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge during the program was time. I feel that time is precious and you don't overcome it very easily when everyone seems to want a piece of your time that you don't have. Eventually, I overcame this crisis by first openly talking to my family and scheduling family time. I learned that time management is the key to success. I created schedules for family, school, work and me time. Having a calendar with assignment due dates kept me in line with school work.
Why did you choose to earn your advanced degree from Lamar University?
My decision to obtain my advanced degree from Lamar University was the way the degree plan was scheduled. I enjoyed taking only one class every five weeks and getting a one week break in between.
What advice would you give to a prospective student who is considering this program?
The advice I would give to a prospective student who is considering this program is to talk to family members and have a support system in place. This makes a world of difference. Obtaining a master's degree shouldn't be a dream, make it a reality by enrolling in the Lamar University online program. The faculty at Lamar University make it easy to enroll.
What helped you get through the program the most? What helped you make it to the finish line?
I believe what helped me get through this program was prayer, family and friends. I also feel that the faculty at Lamar University were always there to help and give me support.
Describe your family's thoughts and feelings about you earning your degree.
I am the first in my family to receive a master's degree. Coming from parents with only an elementary education, my family was very proud of me.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
If I would do it all over again, the thing I would do differently is probably talk to my boss and work out a better work schedule.