Meet our BHS Student of the Month Jordan “Sam” Harper
posted in Behavioral Health Studies on March 28th, 2017
YCCC is pleased to announce that Jordan “Sam” Harper is our March Behavioral Health Studies Student of the month. Sam obtained a Culinary degree from YCCC and then immediately enrolled in the BHS program. She is graduating in May.
You already have a culinary degree from YCCC, what made you decide to come back for your Behavioral Health Studies degree? I decided I didn’t want to settle for one career my whole life. I am one of those people who want to do everything and anything while I can and that is why I chose to enroll in the Behavioral Health program. I want a challenge and I believe that people think these two degrees are very different, but I am trying to piece together a way to combine them and utilize both at the same time.
You’ve definitely taken advantage of multiple opportunities during your time at YCCC, one of those opportunities has been an internship. What type of work are you doing at your site? I am currently an Intern at SequelCare of Maine, I was trained as a Behavioral Health Professional and provide in-home and community support for children with developmental disabilities and mental or behavioral disorders. Going in I was a bit nervous because being in the in-home setting is a lot different than sitting behind a desk. It has been very rewarding so far, I get to see my clients grow daily (even if it’s just a small amount) and it is something everyone in this field should experience. I get to work on various goals from stranger identification to culturally appropriate eye contact and conversation, the goals are different for each client so the job is never repetitive and that is what I like about it. The most important thing I have learned so far is to always go in with a clear mind, every day is different and the creativity you bring to the table to help these client’s reach their goals is essential.
What are some of the courses you’ve taken at YCCC that have been favorites? There are so many courses at YCCC that I have enjoyed but I must say a favorite course I have taken would be an Introduction to theater. I never thought that I would have so much fun in a class before, I was able to transform the meaning of a sonnet and create a new meaning to it. If only I had taped my rendition of it, I believe it would make a lot of people laugh. Another course that I enjoyed at YCCC was a topics class in culinary focused around healthy eating. I enjoyed this class because it was hands on and we got to know how to cook for various different clients who have allergies to gluten, dairy and many more. The one other course that really grabbed my attention was Introduction to Counseling, since counseling is something I am interested in. The class was only 7 weeks long, but one thing that was very hands on in that class was the triad work we participated in at the end of each class. We were able to practice our counseling techniques on fellow classmates and then got to see ourselves improve over the seven weeks. It was very inspiring and pulled out the skills we had within us as natural helpers.
Congratulations on your upcoming graduation, what are your plans for afterward? After my graduation in May I am planning to take the year off and travel and really discover where I want to go in regards to my Behavioral Health degree. I have been leaning toward further education in counseling but am also very interested in becoming a teacher. I have found in my studies at YCCC that I am a natural helper and I enjoy instructing people so they can grow and become stronger. I don’t want to ever lose touch with my Culinary degree and am going to be catering events in Bar Harbor this summer, though in the future I would love to start a program for people with developmental disabilities focused around improving their culinary skills and nutritional knowledge because I believe it is an essential skill to living and being independent.
Do you have any advice for students just beginning their BHS degree? My advice for students who are just beginning their Behavioral Health degree is to take the course electives that you are interested in. I know I am still trying to maneuver my way through the field and find what my true calling is and I am almost done with my degree. I encourage new students to get involved in the program, when I was presented with the opportunity to be involved in an internship through the school I was excited because field experience is not something you can get from sitting behind a desk. Being involved and getting out into the community and exploring what you are interested in is important and you may just find what you love doing the most. Work hard and know that the knowledge you get will stay with you throughout your career, whichever way you choose to go.