Finding Her Way With the Help of Others
Patricia’s mother was a role model for her. She admired her, a full-time mother, and a full-time office manager. When Patricia was young, she thought she also would like to do the same kind of office work. Thus, after high school, she eventually enrolled in a technical college with the intent of becoming an administrative assistant. Unfortunately, her family could not afford to continue paying for her education. She had met her future husband by this time, so she dropped out of college to marry and devote herself to being a full-time mother – both to her husband’s two children from a former marriage and to their own three children.
For years Patricia immersed herself in the many tasks and responsibilities of a mother, remembering her own mother’s commitment to family. Over the years though, she and her husband grew apart. It seemed that their lives took different directions. At some point, when the tensions and differences grew too great, both realized they needed to separate – both for their sake and for the sake of the children.
After she was served divorce papers, Patricia sought the help of “Legal Aid” (Southern Minnesota Legal Services). It was “Legal Aid” who referred her to Life-Work Planning Center (LWPC). At this point she was feeling “lost.” Thinking LWPC could help her through a difficult transition proved to be true. First, Patricia discovered she was not the only one going through a difficult life change. Now she didn’t feel so isolated and alone – something the others had felt too.
Secondly, the workshops she attended – such as Transitions, Stress Management, Career Development/Assessment, Myers Briggs Personality Inventory, Life & Work Values, and Decision Making – each provided specific information and ideas that she could apply to her personal situation and need. Her eyes light up when she speaks of the gratitude list the participants wrote at the beginning of each workshop. It helped her get perspective on things and reminded her of what is really important. Literally, it reminded her to “stop and smell the roses” because she had to refer to what her senses had brought her each day to be grateful for.
Before coming to LWPC, Patricia had considered going back to school. She had been filled with fear, fear, and more fear (as she described it) over the changes to her life following the separation and during the divorce process. Here she was, a mother with three children and “no work skills.” Working one-to-one with LWPC’s Master’s level counseling intern in a therapeutic setting enabled Patricia to “verify what she was going through.” And the career development workshops (specifically the Career Assessment Inventory) confirmed her desire to go back to college and the area most fitting for her.
Feeling confident in the career direction she’d chosen, Patricia enrolled in the Health Information Technology program at Rasmussen College where she is a full-time student. She also works part time as a tutor in the Student Learning Center at Rasmussen. She and the children are all doing well.
What lesson did she learn? “Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I don’t want anyone else to have to feel this way. There is personal and professional help available.” Life-Work Planning Center and the new friends in her group gave her the help she needed to move forward with renewed purpose.
– Marlene Lange, Peer Counselor