Meet Our Students: Amy Johnson
A monthly series to help you get to know the students of NLU, where they've come from and the things they've experienced on the journey toward their degree.
M.S. in Counseling June 2013 grad
What brought you to NLU?
I have an undergraduate degree in secondary education, English. I didn’t pursue my teaching degree immediately because, sadly for educators, I was making a better income as a server at a very popular Chicago steakhouse. While that filled my pocket, it did not fill me intellectually or emotionally. It wasn’t long before I enrolled in graduate school and earned a master's in writing. It was my love of writing that returned me to teaching.
Currently I teach Communications 101 at Moraine Valley Community College. This course is about finding one’s voice, requiring students to tell personal stories and refection. Many of these stories moved me tremendously. I found myself both teaching and counseling in the classroom; however, I felt that I needed much more education in the counseling piece to help my students succeed personally and academically. The desire to help these students persuaded me to earn a counseling degree at National Louis University. Many friends and family wonder what took me so long for this realization. But I explain that we all have our own journey, and all my experiences make me a more empathetic person and counselor.
How did you grow in your time here?
Originally my plan was to complete the community counseling program at National Louis University. Because I taught at the college level, I wanted to be a resource for those students. One summer class in school counseling changed my mind. The class inspired and intrigued me with the thought of the support I could provide to students who were a bit younger. I realized I wanted to service these students before they went to college. The time I spent in my internship was the most rewarding because I was able to observe the student population I taught at the community college level while they were still navigating high school. This experience allowed me the privilege of observing from so many perspectives -- a true gift.
The instruction I received from my classes at National Louis University was relevant to my counseling career; however, the instructors were only a minor part of the experience. The real influence is the dynamics of the cohort -- another assessment of the counselor’s resilience. The members of the cohort play an important role in the success of the classes and experience of each student. That means not only relying on the instructor to feed me knowledge, but to rely on my classmates to add to my learning, as well as researching as much on my own to continue the input and flow of information. This practice emulates life in any career environment and provided me with a great learning experience.
What do you hope to do now and how has NLU prepared you for it?
As a recent 2013 graduate, I have elected to take the National Counseling Exam given in October. That exam has been my main focus of study this summer. I hope to strengthen my credentials and marketability within Illinois and the U.S.
My desire is to teach in an urban setting, and currently I am looking for a job in the Chicago Public School system. While the job climate is challenging, I feel that I have a great skill set built from my experience at National Louis and my internship in CPS.
What did you like most about your experience at NLU?
I appreciated following a set curriculum of classes that was created in a sequence moving us steadily in the direction of completion. Each class led to the next, providing us with a constant cohesiveness of learning. An experience anywhere is often what we make of it. I worked very hard to make my experience in learning at NLU rewarding to me. I found all of my classes interesting and provocative due, in part, to the teaching and challenges given to my cohort who was eager to take on tasks. Many students in my group raised the level of expectation for all of us. Thank you for the challenge.
If you know of an NLU student at any level - bachelor's, master's, doctoral - who has an inspiring story to tell, nominate them for our monthly series by emailing Susan Barnett, Director of Communications, at email@example.com.