Dawn Melton, M.Ed.
"Be aware of the need to plan. Work to be efficient and remember that priorities may shift, but it's only for a short time. You can do it!"
December 10, 2016
Job Title and School District:
Music Teacher, Midway ISD
How has this degree affected your professional outlook? What about personally?
Obtaining my school counseling degree has made me more marketable. My original degree was in music education, but I wanted to explore some other areas of education. I love music, and I have a strong desire to help my students in any way I can. School counseling was the choice for me! I am able to use my counseling skills to build strong relationships with my students and help them through tough times. It has made me a better teacher, a much better listener, and a better wife and mom. I look forward to the possibility of being a school counselor in the near future.
What was your single biggest takeaway from the program?
The single biggest takeaway from the School Counseling program was a greater awareness of my personal gifts. I realize now that my ability to form lasting relationships with students is something unique and special. The program gave me a number of tools to use in the classroom and as a school counselor to enhance these gifts.
How much time per week did you spend on your studies?
I spent on average 8 hours per week on my studies.
Describe how having an online option made a degree more accessible for you.
I am a wife, a mom, and a full-time (PLUS) teacher. My family is most important to me, so having the flexibility to do my homework in my pajamas after my kids were tucked away enabled me to be mom. Because it was all online. I was able to work on my studies anytime anywhere. This was tremendously helpful! While I see the benefit of face-to-face classes, the online degree allowed me to better balance my home, work, and student responsibilities
What was one of the biggest challenges during the program, and how did you overcome it?
One of the biggest challenges was balancing all of the responsibilities. I had to make time for school, work, and my family. I had to plan ahead and understand that sometimes, the scales of balance were going to tip more in one direction than I would like. I had to keep in mind, though, that it was only temporary.
Why did you choose to earn your advanced degree from Lamar University?
I chose Lamar University because it is cost effective, it was all online, and because several of my colleagues had gone through Lamar for their advanced degrees.
What advice would you give to a prospective student who is considering this program?
Be aware of the need to plan. Work to be efficient and remember that priorities may shift, but it's only for a short time. You can do it!
What helped you get through the program the most? What helped you make it to the finish line?
Looking ahead was very helpful to me. Knowing when things were due allowed me to work on them ahead of time. Also, building relationships with my professors (particularly toward the end of the program) was hugely beneficial. Even though you may only see them via webcam, they are there to help, and they are very knowledgeable on their subjects. If you need help, ask. They are professional and more than willing to help!
Describe your family's thoughts and feelings about you earning your degree
My family honestly has some mixed emotions right now. They are so ready for me to be finished because I am so busy and it does take time away sometimes. But most of all, they are proud of me. I have shown my kids that hard work pays off. My husband is so proud of my ability to balance home, work, and school responsibilities.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would work to build stronger relationships with my professors and with my peers earlier in the program. Many of my classmates and I have been in classes together the whole time, and I have had several professors and IA's multiple times. I know now, more than I did at the beginning of the program, how much they want us to be successful and how willing they are to help. I honestly didn't do many of the weekly webinars, but if I could, I'd go back and be more involved in those sessions.