Hong joins counselling team

Counselor Heather Hong enjoys her vacation to Spain. Hong is new to the LCHS counselling staff this year.

Counselor Heather Hong enjoys her vacation to Spain. Hong is new to the LCHS counselling staff this year.

“My favorite part of counseling is the people and relationships I develop. I’ve cherished all the relationships I have developed thus far!” says counselor Heather Hong. Hong, who previously worked at Rock Ridge High School, is a new addition to the counseling staff this year. A VCU graduate, she has been counseling with LCPS for four years.

“I always knew I wanted to work with students, but I specifically wanted to work at the high school level, because I have a passion for supporting students to prepare for their life after high school,” says Hong. This passion stems from Hong’s own life experiences as a second-generation Korean-American.

“The college process was completely new to my parents and I had to teach myself. Going to college was also a given, rather than a decision or discussion. I feel like it is important to have conversations about post-secondary plans. These days, there are so many options including college, community college, gap-year, work, military, etc.,” she says.

While distance learning is already a difficult adjustment on its own, Hong has an especially unique situation with being new to the school this year. When asked why she made the switch, Hong notes that the transition was a great opportunity to gain more experience in the field and learn from different student bodies.

“So far, it has been great! All the students, families, and staff have been so welcoming. It is a bummer to begin at a new school virtually, but I am excited for when I get to meet everyone in person.” says Hong.

As for the obstacle of connecting with students virtually, she notes, “At first, it was really difficult getting used to relying on Google Hangouts to meet with students face to face. Now that we’ve been in distance learning for several months now, I’ve become used to the whole thing. It is pretty awesome how quickly we adapt and adjust to our environment. I am proud of how far everyone has come with remote learning.”

Hong emphasized the importance of rewarding yourself for hard work. “Work hard, but don’t forget to reward yourself! Personally, I find I work more efficiently when I give myself short breaks or reward my milestones. For example, I’ll read emails or write recommendations letters for an hour or so, then take a quick five-minute break to play with my puppy and cuddle him for a little bit. Doing that both energizes and refreshes me for my next tasks.”

“I’d have to say my favorite moments as a counselor are when I see my students overcome challenges and achieve their goals. Whatever their goals are, being there to support them through the process and watching them cross the finish line is so rewarding.”