Position: Counselor, Transfer Center
A.A. Liberal Studies from SRJC
B.A. Anthropology from UCLA
M.A. Counseling (school counseling) and Pupil Services Services Credential from Sonoma State University
1. How did you decide to attend your college/university?
I applied completely on a whim. I didn't research the school until after I was admitted, which is NOT the way I would recommend students approach this process. I eventually spent enough time on their website to discover that they offered an Armenian Studies Program. As an Armenian-American, I had hoped to combine my degrees in Anthro and Armenian to work toward some sort of immersion experience in Armenia. I ended up taking a different path but this option was so unusual that I had to take advantage of it, even if briefly.
I decided to take a trip to Los Angeles to explore the campus and fell in love. You get an immediate vibe from a campus, but you have to step foot on it to know. For me, I liked how large the campus is and the vibrancy that came with it; there was always something going on! I also loved the weather and the idea of staying in California but getting some distance from the one experience I had in Sonoma County. It was definitely a new environment, which really allowed me to develop myself.
2. How did you afford college/university?
I received the Doyle for my entire time at SRJC, which paid for everything. When I transferred, I used money that was saved for me by my family and I worked as a nanny.
3. What was unique about the college/university you attended?
It is HUGE! I had to take a campus bus between classes. And, I would often see famous people around Westwood or when they were filming something at UCLA. I did many hours of studying flashcards outside of the Fox Theater next to campus waiting to see stars walk the red carpet at their film's premiers. What can I say, I love LA.
They offer an ethnomusicology program, which is a hard find! https://www.ethnomusic.ucla.edu/
4. Did you have any experiences transferring?
I followed the IGETC and took as many Anthro classes as possible.
I found out that my love for music didn't have to die as a non-music major. I auditioned for the symphonic ensemble and got in. There are so many ways to continue your interests and learn new skills on a college campus. However, as a transfer, you typically don't have as much time on campus to participate. It is important to research offerings beforehand and make connections soon after you arrive.
5. What kinds of jobs did you get after graduation?
My first job after college was right here at Santa Rosa Junior College in Assessment Services. I handled the front-desk and monitored the placement test.
6. How did you discover you current position?
After my position in Assessment, I started as an Education and Outreach Coordinator for the YWCA. I happened to do some tabling at an SRJC event where I was placed next to the Counseling outreach table. I began speaking to now-retired Diane Larson about being a Counselor and what she liked about it. It turned into a spontaneous informational interview. Hearing how she helped students develop paths toward their educational goals, I remember thinking about the many times my friends asked me to help them to develop their schedules. I loved making course recommendations (not a whole lot has changed). One year later, I applied to Sonoma State with the intention of one day becoming a College Counselor at SRJC myself. Needless to say, it feels pretty neat having the position you had envisioned for years.
7. What do you love about your field?
I get to support people with one of their biggest decisions. I get to cheer-lead when students are struggling. I get to celebrate when they succeed. Mostly, I get to explain things that are complicated and overwhelming so that students feel like they can manage a daunting task. Being in someone's corner and seeing them reach a goal is extremely exciting. I believe in everyone's ability to reach "their best" and it feels good to have a career that encourages people do just that on a daily basis.
8. Do you have any tips for transfer-bound students?
Come see me! I am a Counselor in the Transfer Center and I would love to support you with the process of figuring out where you are going to study next, which classes you need, and how you can strengthen your applications. Oh, and check www.assist.org!