Counseling Students Help Heal During Covid-19 Pandemic

By: Anna-Kate Weichel

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many people’s physical state, mental stress and everything in between, but MACU has been able to help others during these difficult times.

The university’s counseling program is stepping up to help in a new way. MACU now offers an internship for counseling students that allows them to get real-life experience through counseling clients weekly.

One of the participating students is Nolberto Rondon. He grew up in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States at the age of 18 with a few suitcases and his hopes of being a professional baseball player. He played baseball for MACU but realized he had a different calling in life. While playing baseball, he often found himself getting caught up in his emotions.

“I was that guy that was overthinking everything, so understanding what this is coming from, how you can control those emotions during the game was a big part of it,” he said.

It ended up being baseball that brought him to this career shift of studying counseling. By being able to delve introspectively into why he was feeling the way he was during baseball games, he also began having a better sense of himself and how his brain worked. This made him feel inspired to give the same opportunity to others. Rondon meets with several clients a week and sees people of all ages. Especially amid a pandemic, he has seen an increase in clients with anxiety and depression.

“I try to be able to help that person because I can imagine what it is they are going through. It is very challenging, but I’m very thankful to the school because of this opportunity,” he said.

This internship has allowed Rondon to gain real life experience for himself while also giving back and helping others. Since beginning this journey last summer, he has had a wide variety of clients spanning all age groups. MACU specifically designs the internship program to include a diverse selection of counselors to patients: male, female, bilingual and so on. This allows clients to choose who they feel most comfortable opening up with.

Rondon will graduate this May with his Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling. Upon graduation, he looks forward to continuing to meet with clients in the same way that he is right now. He wants to gain more experience and knowledge by expanding his services to couples and families. In the future, Rondon is excited to further his education and earn his Doctorate while also continuing to help others.