Lakeshia Roberson attributes her interest in psychology to the A&E television series The First 48. Sort of.
“I noticed how I liked watching that show and other shows that dealt with real people,” Roberson said. “At first, I wanted to do forensics. When I enrolled in school for my undergraduate degree and took my first psychology course, my instructor was a clinical psychologist who told us about what she did. When she explained it, I said, ‘That’s the route I want to take.'”
Now, Roberson is enrolled in the Lamar University Master of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling online program. She is on track to graduate in May 2019 and become the first person in her immediate family with a graduate degree.
“I like working with people and learning about the mind and behaviors,” she said. “That’s another thing that led me here. After I switched over to psychology, I learned about the different avenues I could take. One of them was becoming a psychologist. That’s what I want to do.”
Although Roberson works as a project administrator for Jones|Carter Engineering in the Houston area, she hopes to transition into psychology after she graduates and becomes a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.
“I’ve already been looking at different jobs,” she said. “On LinkedIn, I see where a lot of the Lamar University alumni from my program work now. I’m definitely confident this degree will help me get there, too.”
Bundle of Joy
Roberson was so driven to start the master’s degree program that she enrolled while six months pregnant. Her first child, Jaime Solis Jr., was born in November 2017.
“I had a paper due the next day,” she said. “I got it done. The program is a lot of work, but it’s not overwhelming. My boyfriend and my family are very supportive of me. They want me to go all the way through.”
Roberson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix in 2016. She started the Lamar University master’s program 11 months later. Especially with a newborn, Roberson knew she needed a flexible program that would fit such a busy schedule.
“I found a few programs that said they could help me out, but half of them were going to be online and I would have to go to their campus for the other half,” she said. “One of them was in Dallas, which is a little bit too far. I said, ‘I can’t do that.’ I did a little more research and saw the Lamar University M.Ed. Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. I said, ‘This can’t be real. It’s saying it’s online and what I’m looking for.'”
With the exception of a one-week residency in Beaumont and a local practicum and internship, all of the coursework is online. Roberson was sold.
“I said, ‘Okay. I want to know what I have to do to get it done and get registered,'” Roberson said. “I also have a couple of family members and friends who attended Lamar University, which is another reason I decided to go that route. Residency is a great experience for students. You get to acquire certain skills like teamwork and how to work cohesively as a team. I enjoyed the experience of being on campus.”
Even with all Roberson has on her plate, the program is working out well with her schedule.
“I usually try to answer my discussion questions on my lunch breaks,” she said. “Sometimes, I’m a person who prioritizes. Then, sometimes I’m a last-minute person and I don’t do my schoolwork until Saturday and Sunday. I’m off on the weekends, so it still works out great. Even after I became a new mother, I didn’t take off any semesters. I was able to juggle all of that. It’s been amazing.”
Roberson believes the online M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program curriculum is thoroughly preparing her to begin her career. One of her favorite courses in the curriculum was CNDV 5350: Abnormal Human Behavior.
“I like it because you learn about the different behaviors and why people behave the way they do,” Roberson said. “How do you diagnose someone with depression? Schizophrenia? Bipolar disorder? That’s why I want to go into the psychiatric field. I don’t think people are knowledgeable about it, and those disorders go overlooked because people don’t know how serious they are.
“By taking that class, I can be an advocate for those individuals and help people understand how important and how serious certain mental health issues can be. I like learning about all of the different behaviors.”
She is also enjoying CNDV 5381: Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling, the course she is currently taking.
“You’re getting to understand how if one person in the family is struggling with some type of mental illness, it affects the whole family,” Roberson said. “I also like how the course touches on domestic violence and all of the different issues that go on with a family and how it trickles down.”
Even if Roberson lands a job as a professional counselor, she won’t be finished with school.
“I’m going to go get my Ph.D. once I finish my master’s degree,” she said. “I’m going all the way. I’m not messing around. You only live once. I want my kids to go to school and say, ‘You call my mom Dr. Roberson.'”
Learn more about the Lamar University online M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.