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Gratitude In A New Year & My Wish For Students

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

Hello everyone! I wanted to take a moment to thank my clients and followers as we start a new year. The first application season for MSquared Counseling seniors is almost complete. It has been so rewarding to help this group of young people across the US and beyond to share their stories as they make decisions about their priorities for their next steps in life. I set out to build a practice that would allow me to work in an individualized way with students and families who appreciate the approach I've learned through 25 (and counting!) years in the college admission profession. It's one that focuses on building a search around values, personal growth, evidence-based research, and authentic expression. I'm grateful and humbled by so many of you who have supported the launch of this effort by subscribing, making referrals, and most significantly, trusting my guidance for your students' high school choice, college search and applications.

The change of the calendar year is a time that naturally sparks reflection and gratitude. Besides you all, among the things I've been feeling thankful for are the education and experiences I've been able to have in my life. The picture above this message is one I took at sunrise at the stunning Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia a few years ago. Last November I had the opportunity to visit and tour my alma mater, and while walking through a brand new humanities building, I happened to run into the retired professor of Asian Religions whose class I took for my liberal arts requirements 30 years ago-- despite having no previous knowledge of the subject, and being a little unsure as to how you write an essay for a religion class. As I chatted with him (and thanked him,) I realized that his class was probably the most significant one I ever took, for its early influence on my evolving, lifelong learning about world cultures and perspectives-- and, among other impacts, for sowing the seed to experience the incredible ruins of Angkor when I finally had the chance. This week I came across this article in the New York Times, which touches on all these themes: the importance of a willingness to learn, the growth mindset I hope to help students practice, and the unexpected doorways that can open when you venture into an unknown world, especially with a trusted guide. My wish for every student is that they embrace the exciting possibility of all they don't know at every step of their journey.

I'm looking forward to the months ahead with my students at every point on their path to college and beyond. For 11th graders, the most exciting part of the college search happens in the first part of this calendar year, as their self-knowledge and experiences come together with informed research to highlight the many exciting environments in which they can thrive and learn things they can't yet imagine. I have a few spaces left in my junior-year cohort, if any student you know could benefit from a guide in that kind of process. My best wishes for a great 2023, and many inspired moments born of leaning into not knowing.

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