Counselor Education: Alum says Henderson changed his life

Aresh Assadi’s parents had always wanted the first generation college student (and American) to be a doctor. He came to Henderson State University in 2002 with that goal in mind, but the transition to college proved difficult for him.

“Unfortunately, I faced many barriers my first year of college. Moreover, I did not take college very seriously the first two semesters,” Assadi said. “I became stressed and depressed.”

He sought help from Henderson’s TRIO programs.

“It seemed that no matter how hard I tried to mess things up, the TRIO staff refused to allow me to fail,” Assadi said. “They would always go out of their way to help me and keep me in school. I never knew why they did this for me.

“I like to think that they saw something in me and thought I could graduate and move on to big things.”

His involvement in TRIO became a prime influence in Assadi’s career choice.

“I just knew that I wanted to help people, just like the counselors in Student Support Services helped me,” he said. “I started taking psych classes and had amazing professors who truly cared about me and cared about the subject they were teaching. That passion inspired me to learn and actually apply myself, and that’s what made me interested in counseling and helping others.”

Assadi, who received his undergraduate degree in psychology in 2006 and his Master’s in clinical mental health in 2009, still keeps in touch with his professors. He is now pursuing his doctorate degree.

Assadi said he received an “amazing” education at Henderson.

“Both my undergrad and graduate programs were top notch,” he said. “It may seem biased, but I think Henderson’s psychology and counselor education programs could go toe-to-toe with any school.

“You could not ask for better professors in counselor education. They not only teach it, but they have lived it.”

Assadi hopes more people will “get over” the stigmatism of seeking assistance when they need it.

“Life is hard and sometimes we all need a little help. I think the role of counselor education in today’s society is to have more people understand that asking for help and accepting it is not a bad thing,” Assadi said. “I wish I could say that I got where I am today by myself. But that simply is not true. If it wasn’t for the handful of people who were put in my life, I don’t know if I would be where I am today.

“This may sound cheesy, but I truly believe that my time at Henderson changed my life. I grew up poor and had many struggles. My education at Henderson has broken that cycle in my family. I am proud to be a Reddie.”