A Midyear Check-In With New Guidance Counselor, Ms. Mehta

Gisella Brok

At Lovett, there is “a lot of positive energy” which “spreads out” and positively impacts everyone else in the community.

When I walked into Ms. Mehta’s cozy counseling office, she was working on a flyer with tips for students about how to deal with stress.

Since the beginning of the year, Ms. Mehta has had to make a lot of adjustments,  such as being in a new city and navigating a new school with a group of new counselors by her side. 

Since moving here, she’s been exploring the city “as fast as [she] can.” She especially enjoyed the Ponce City Market roof and West Side Park. 

Along with a new state, she has had to move into a whole new school, which may sound intimidating, but it turns out that for her, it was “easier than [she] thought,” because compared to her other schools, “the scope of her job as a counselor is a lot more focused here” at Lovett, which made the transition easier. Along with this, she “never feels like [she’s] annoying people” when asking questions.

Because she is not the only new counselor, they all have been able to adjust and learn together. This means that they get to “decide what they want to focus on” based on what they have done at their past jobs. They get to make sure nothing that has been helpful for them in the past “gets lost.” While they get to explore new ideas and figure out what they want to do, they still get lots of help from the deans and Mrs. Friedman, who is the middle school counselor, which is “really important.”

So far her year has been “good overall,” especially with having more of a “normal school year.” Along with being able to see everyone in person, she explains how people have been “really welcoming” and helpful. For now, her main focus is figuring out what will be most helpful for students and thinking about “what’s the best way to get information to students,” connecting with the students, “in proactive ways,” and making sure that it’s not intimidating for the students to come visit if they need. One of the things that they have already been able to do is have a lesson with the freshmen during PE about stress management. 

For the freshmen PE class, the counselors tried to pick a topic that would be relevant, and fortunately, the timing was “perfect” (despite not being completely intentional). 

From a counselor’s point of view, the overall atmosphere at Lovett has both its positives and negatives. The only negative aspect that she talked about was how stressed out the students are and how centered it is on academics. This stress is the “number one thing students come in for.” When she notices this, she says that she understands why, but she wants the students to think more about the process than just the result. This means that students can focus on the actual learning of the subjects, enjoying their high school experience, and also just exploring their interests. Exploring interests can also help students with finding their identity.

Of course, with exam week coming up, those stress levels can go up even higher. This raises the concern that the students might try to be too productive and burn out. She explains how it is good to schedule study breaks, but it might be hard for students to do that without feeling like they’re wasting time. Her main goal is for students to be able to manage their stress as much as possible, and she hopes that the students will come visit the office if they need anything, since they will be there all week.

Even though students are stressed, she says that this means that they care about doing well. At Lovett, there is “a lot of positive energy” which “spreads out” and positively impacts everyone else in the community.

Ultimately, Ms. Mehta hopes that students can view the counseling office as “an option that students actually want to take advantage of.” She wants to be as helpful as possible and if anyone has any ideas for the counselors, they “are open to suggestions” since working with students is something they love and is “why [they] are here”.

Since the time that this interview took place, the flyer has been sent out to all of the students, and the tips there are also accessible on the bulletin board on MyLion.

The Lovett School is an independent, coeducational day school where children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 find the courage to explore and the drive to discover.

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