(HARLINGEN, Texas) – It can be difficult for some individuals to cope with life’s challenges, and a counselor is a professional who can provide support for emotional issues.
Brandi Cruz, of Harlingen, is the newest counselor in the Counseling and Mental Health Services department at Texas State Technical College’s Harlingen campus. The department offers free mental health assistance to TSTC students.
Although Cruz looks forward to helping all students, she feels a special connection to those who share her Hispanic heritage.
What does National Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
I have learned about my culture and who I am as an individual, although I am not a first-generation Hispanic. I have helped many individuals with mental health concerns, and I will do that now in a college setting, especially with those who are Hispanic because I relate to my ethnicity.
What excited you about the job opportunity at TSTC?
I used to intern at an area college, and the environment of a close-knit college community allows a counselor to get to know the students much better. That’s what excited me about this opportunity at TSTC, because it is a small college community, and I can build that rapport.
How do you plan to implement your expertise?
I (will be) able to help students transition from the pandemic and return to socializing. Many of these students work part-time or full-time jobs. My plan is to help them manage and improve their relationships, social interaction, anxiety and depression due to isolation caused by the pandemic, and help them transition back to day-to-day society.
How do you plan to develop a relationship with TSTC students?
TSTC’s Counseling and Mental Health Services at the Harlingen campus will participate in scheduled events during the fall semester. The most recent event offered survival tips on being a college student. There will also be more upcoming events that students can attend.
What does success mean to you in this career?
When a client or a student voices that they are ready to improve their mental health, that means I am successful. This can be a challenging job, but when I am able to help at least one individual — it’s a great success.
How did you become interested in a career in counseling?
At a young age, I knew I wanted to help others. When I pursued two Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology and sociology at Texas A&M University – Kingsville, I found psychology and really enjoyed it. I realized there are many career paths that I could venture into. Then I decided to pursue a Master of Science degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. That’s what led me to where I am now.
TSTC is proud to recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from mid-September to mid-October.
For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.