Originally from Atlanta, Ga., Jasmine Johnson graduated with a master’s degree in school counseling in 2019. She recently self-published her first children’s book entitled, “Mikey’s Lost Toy.”
“In addition to my dream of always wanting to become an author,” Johnson said, “it was inspired by the knowledge I acquired from the school counseling program. Although I am a high school counselor, I learned that basic skills in counseling are applicable to all age groups. I had my son, who is the co-author of the book, while completing the school counseling program. Often times, I would practice certain skills on him and my daughter. The more I learned, the more I practiced. Above all the skills I learned the most important lesson my professors taught me was how pivotal expressing one’s emotions is to human development. This is the central message of my book.”
Prior to obtaining a master’s degree, Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in education from Georgia State. “I chose Georgia State based on the satisfying experience I had during my undergrad studies,” Johnson said. “After doing some research I discovered how much the school counseling grad program had to offer. It offered a curriculum that was CACREP approved, and the success stories from former students were admirable. Before I even interviewed I knew I wanted to be a graduate of this program.”
Why did you want to be a school counselor?
I aspired to become a school counselor because of the impactful relationship I had with my middle school counselor. Unlike many other educational professions, a counselor supports the whole student from the interior to the exterior. I always wanted to be an influential person in my students’ lives just as my counselor had been in mine.
What fascinates you about research? Or not? What has surprised you about what you have learned?
What’s most fascinating about research is the way it fosters growth regardless if the outcome/ results are favorable or not. You can always learn something from what you discover. I was surprised by the research data that was shared with the students since day one of the program. One assignment that really shocked me was how much research is required to create a single comprehensive school counseling program.
Is there a professor you’d like to give a mention to that helped you along your journey?
Honestly, I would not have completed this program without the assistance of each of my professors. Robert Rice always offered support and lent an ear when I was overwhelmed with school work, parenting, and working as a teacher. He believed in my success when I didn’t. Erin Mason and Tiffany McNary always allowed me to be more than just a member of their classes. They created a space for me to be transparent, while they nurtured my growth as a young woman entering into new worlds professionally and personally. Laura Shannonhouse always had the “answer.” She was the instructor that taught me the importance of expanding my knowledge on any subject that intrigues me. Everyone played their role with fidelity and competency, even down to Regina Finan whose office doors were always open for me to vent or request impromptu course advisement sessions. I believe in my heart that each of these individuals was handpicked not just for this department/program, but for my life as well.
How do you explain what you’re doing in school to someone who is not in your field of study?
I tell people that a school counselor is the backstage worker of the school. We support students academically, social emotionally, and prepare them for life beyond grade school. The majority of the time I just listen and help students come up with their own solutions. If they aren’t capable, I give them some suggestions and we create a plan that works for them.
What tips can you give a student just starting to help them be successful?
I would simply encourage new students to not be afraid when things get rocky or uncomfortable because they can’t grow where they are complacent and comfortable. Sometimes growth hurts, but the pain is worth it in the end.
How do you explain your cohorts to your outside friends?
My cohort was my family. We all supported each other and built a personal relationship. In fact, we still keep in touch with each other.