Navigating Through Challenges as a Fresh Graduate

Maribeth WaggnerMaribeth Wagganer graduated from Webster University in May 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychological Science with an Expressive Art Therapy Certificate.

As a recent graduate, she faced many challenges. She was overwhelmed with the program’s expectations and was chasing perfection. However, she gradually learned that it is OK to make mistakes, and to learn from them.

“When I was making mistakes, it was a hard process to go through, but they were the reasons why I kept growing and learning to be a better counselor, as well as a student," Wagganer said.

She went on to explain how the Counseling program has helped her academically and personally.

“For instance, I have built my professional identity by learning more about the counseling field, and I have improved my writing through different types of feedback. I have also learned how to prioritize myself through self-care. Burnout is real, and it can be challenging to overcome, which is why our professors preach about taking care of ourselves. As a result, I have integrated meditation and a small amount of reading into my daily routine to keep myself healthy and to reduce burnout," Wagganer said. 

During her bachelor's program, Wagganer learned a lot about different cultural backgrounds as a resident assistant. She loved meeting and getting to know students from various countries.

“I have seen many students teach each other about their cultures and help each other out, which has been an amazing experience. By listening to different stories, I have learned something new every day which is the best part about being at Webster," Wagganer said. 

Studying Psychological Science has impacted Wagganer's career choice and field. She said that the University has opened many doors for her and granted her valuable experience. One of her most memorable experiences came during her time as an undergraduate student when she was able to travel to Jefferson City. She met with state representatives to talk about certain bills that will advocate for mental health. 

“Webster has a great Counseling program that gives their students opportunities to be involved within the counseling field through innovative ways. For instance, in ethics class we went to Jefferson City to advocate for the mental health field by talking to representatives about certain bills that could be harmful to future clients. In short, having real-life experiences gives me more knowledge and understanding about counseling than just reading from a textbook," Wagganer said. 

Reflecting on her years at Webster, she recommends that students try new things and get involved with the community by joining a club or going to events.

“Webster has so many events goings on, which gives the students the opportunity to create fun memories with their friends or make new friends. Altogether, this is the time to push yourself by taking fun classes, going to exciting events and learning about different cultures," Wagganer said. 

Originally from Hunan Province of China, Wagganer was adopted and brought to the United States when she was 18 months old. She is currently a Counseling graduate student. Her goal is to help people with a mix of creativity and counseling. She intends to pursue clinical practices upon graduating to help people who are dealing with mental health problems. 

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