After a long day of being at school, sometimes you just need to take a satisfactory snack break. When I walked through the open doors of the upper school guidance office, Julie Mehta was enjoying her bowl of noodles while reviewing her plan for the next day
Ms. Mehta, one of the new guidance counselors in the upper school, came to Georgia from a whole list of places, all of which could be seen by the map in her office. After growing up in Maine, her next location was Michigan, where she spent her high school and college years.
“I really like to travel,” she said, explaining how after college she lived in about 5 different places, including Italy and, most recently, her favorite city, San Diego. While it was hard for her to leave California and come to Georgia, living closer to her whole family in Virginia is most important to her, since her household was “really the only ones out on the West Coast.”
All the travelling helped her figure out what she wanted to do for a long term career, which was counseling.
Having been a camp counselor since middle school, she knew she enjoyed working with kids, so her first instinct was to become a teacher. But, after having taught in so many places, she realized that she liked the connection she made with the students more than the actual teaching.
She enjoys being able to talk to students about what they want to do in the future or who they want to be. She noted that “the side effect of teaching is building those relationships, but it’s the main focus in counseling.”
So, taking her love for travelling and being a counselor, she’s excited to embark on her journey as part of the brand new group of upper school counselors this year.
With all of the counselors being new, Mrs. Mehta explained how they “all get to figure it out together,” which makes the process easier since it’s “helpful to learn beside somebody.”
It’s also nice for her and the other counselors because they don't have someone telling them how to do things. It allows them to listen to both the students and staff about important things such as the role that counselors have played in the past and what they want to see more of. She explained how it’s nice to have the opportunity to fill in “whatever need may exist” by listening and just “absorbing” things.
She hopes that she and the other counselors can help make counseling “a really important part of the school.” She’s aware that “sometimes people aren’t really quite sure why or when or how they should come see the counselors,” and hopes that can be clear for everyone so that the counselors can “become a resource.”
And she said that a student doesn’t just have to be having a bad day to come. “You can come in here if you just want to hang out or have a quiet place to be,” she added, or even if it’s just tips on balancing things or staying organized.
Deciding to let her enjoy the rest of her delicious noodles, I thanked her for her time and then left the office of this super enthusiastic new member of the faculty.