What’s it Like to be a Counselor?

A Feature on Laurel Kreifels, the Conestoga Jr./Sr. High School Counselor

Murray, NEB- Laurel Kreifels is the counselor at Conestoga Jr./ Sr. High School. Most students know her, but they don’t know what she does exactly. Kreifels tries to get people to stray away from the stereotypes of a school counselor. “People think they sit in their offices all day and just wait to tell students if they are going to graduate or not and if they have a future… The profession has changed so much more over the years. Now, it really focuses on the ‘whole student’. The correct term ‘school counselor’ indicates that they are there to help individual students and also the school to succeed in their goals,” said Kreifels. She said that the best counselors have an understanding of logistics and people. She combines those skills to try to be the best counselor that she can be.
Kreifels began working at Conestoga in 2014, but her career of working in schools did not begin there. “In high school, I thought about the possibility of being a counselor after helping my counselor type up some schedules ‘pre-powerschool’ and helping my younger brothers choose classes…I wasn’t sure I would like the social-emotional side of school counseling at first,” said Kreifels.
Kreifels was teaching business and was an FBLA advisor for ten years at Malcom when she decided to work on an advanced degree to become a counselor. She started classes at UNO while working full time, coaching, and taking care of her family. A little while after she finished her master’s degree, a spot for a high school counselor opened up at Conestoga. She found Conestoga to be in a better location and a good fit for her.
She loves to help students develop toward a career. “I found that I also had a passion for helping students grow into adulthood; helping them to problem solve and advocate for themselves,” Kreifels stated. Some things that Kreifels loves about her job are that it changes from day to day and she gets to help others. Kreifels stated, “Maybe it is the business teacher background, but I often find myself trying to help Kelly and Sara out in the office when things get crazy up there.”
She also enjoys watching the students change and become better versions of themselves. “I am here for the college and career choices, the academic and social aspects of the individual student, as well as the emotional development of students,” she said. Kreifels delights in being a counselor, but sometimes misses teaching students all day long.
Becoming a counselor is hard work and some people can’t see why they do what they do. It is important to appreciate everything that Kreifels and other school counselors do. That is why there is National School Counselors Week Feb 7-11. During this week, people are educated on what school counselors do and they find a way to thank them. Kreifels wants everyone to know that she is here for them as an individual. Stop in to talk with her and make sure you thank her!