To the next two years…and BEYOND! ((by melissa))

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After almost completing the first week of my official Genetic Counseling education, I can’t stop myself from thinking about all the accomplishments to be had in the next two years of life.   This may be nerd status, but, regardless of all the readings, presentations, exams, quizzes, (insert more school-related “to-do” items), the overwhelming feelings I am experiencing are from pure excitement.  (If everything goes according to plan) I will become a Genetic Counselor in two years.  My pursuit of the profession is HOT.

Which also brings me to the question of…”why am I in pursuit of this profession?”  We recently had a class discussion of, likely, the most difficult question we have been asked…”What is a Genetic Counselor?” (or any other version of the sort.)  Most of us want to respond with…”well, do you have a few minutes?”  To us, a brief description does not serve enough justice for something we are all striving to become.

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Since Genetic Counseling is a multi-faceted profession, I believe there are different aspects that attracted each of us.  Personally, I am attracted to the magical blend of psychosocial support and transfer of medical knowledge, or more essentially communicating and delivering important information without neglecting that the receiving end of this information is a human and has a perception of feelings.  With this, it is difficult to refer to the role of the counselor in terms of one stoic job.  Each individual is unique and quite literally the only version of themselves (as evidenced at the DNA level!) and their feelings and reactions are far from being predicted.  In counseling sessions of two seemingly identical cases, the counselor role can range from support system to fact deliverer.

It is this vast role of a Genetic Counselor that adds to the difficulty of producing a sufficient answer to what we are.  I advise that if you were to Google this question, please delve deeper than just the surface display of responses given (I’m sorry, “web defintion”, but we are much more than “guidance for prospective parents on the likelihood of genetic disorders in their future children” – we tackle pediatrics and adult specialties as well!)   Although I’m partial to NSGC, or National Society of Genetic Counselors, their website provides an excellent description of the profession and beyond here.  Take time and check out the rest of the website, as well, because there are more great things to observe (like press releases under the “Media” tab – nerd status again!)

Are you in pursuit of a Genetic Counseling degree or considering the profession?  What is it that has caught your interest?  We love hearing about other individuals’ passions, no matter what they are (even if they aren’t centered around Genetic Counseling!)

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3 thoughts on “To the next two years…and BEYOND! ((by melissa))

  1. Hi Melissa!

    I’m about to begin my 18-month genetic counseling training program at Northwestern University in Chicago (I actually plan on starting a blog soon, too!). I have been “considering the profession” for about two years now, so beginning grad school has been a long time coming for me, and I can definitely relate to your feelings of excitement! I was drawn to the profession because the field of genetics is so current, controversial and exciting. To me, genetic counseling presents all sorts of interesting dichotomies. In terms of genetics research, there’s both an explosion of information and also an overall lack of understanding of many important syndromes, processes, etc. (hence the need for continued research). At the same time, in the clinical world, genetic counselors are seen as “experts”. Being an “expert” in a field in which we are truly just beginning to skim the surface of knowledge is very intriguing to me! Every day brings new information to be learned and shared. Ultimately, there is a lot of potential to change people’s lives – hopefully for the better.

    • mracobaldo says:

      Hi Emily!

      It’s great to hear from a fellow Genetic Counseling student – we love to network with our peers and soon-to-be colleagues in the professional world!

      You’ll have to keep us updated on the progress of your blog, your passion and interest in the field is evident and we would love to hear more about your experiences. It is also a great creative outlet to reach more people and expand the knowledge of Genetic Counseling and the field of Genetics, because like you said, it is very current and we are constantly expanding upon the knowledge we have. It’s great that you mentioned the continued research of genetics, and our classification as “experts”. It seems to be a learning experience that everyone is processing together and the more knowledge we can gather and share with everyone, the better we will be doing at our jobs!

      Good luck with your first semester, and we hope you keep reading!

      Melissa

  2. Kati says:

    Hi Melissa!

    I know it’s been awhile since you posted on this site, but I truly appreciate reading all of your blogs about genetic counseling. My name is Kati and I am applying to graduate programs this year. Match day is tomorrow and I can’t contain my excitement (and nerves)! I would love for you to talk about your experience on match day, and how you came to the decision about which program you would be attending. I have done my rankings of course, but I can’t help but think about what might change when I get my first call (whether good or bad). Is there any advice you wish you could have had going into match day?

    Thank you so much again for doing this blog!

    Kati

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