I have always wanted to help people. I remember in high school I would dream about a career where I could help make a significant impact in other people’s lives. While on a leadership retreat during my senior year of high school, I felt a strong call to help teens as a youth pastor. This led me on an incredible journey of getting my bachelor’s degree, ministering to teenagers, seeing people freshly experience Jesus, and growing a soul patch (I know … gross).
After six years of doing this incredible work, I felt a different call – a call to pursue my master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling to be able to help teenagers and families. Little did I know how much this call would change my career trajectory, but also my own heart.
I knew in my heart this was what God wanted me to do, but I was scared and I had several reservations. Like, how was I going to pay for this degree? How could I fit this into my busy life with a full-time job and two young children at home? Would I get the training I needed to be competent?
But I decided to trust God and take that huge leap of faith. The moment I began my educational journey at Colorado Christian University, God showed me that he was going to make a way for me; that all things were possible through him who would give me strength. Suddenly, my fears and concerns faded away and I saw how I could overcome the obstacles.
CCU’s format was flexible to fit my busy schedule and still allowed me to prioritize the needs of my family. They also offered me the ongoing support that I needed with engaging faculty and staff, continuous prayer, and financial aid and advising support.
But I can’t say that getting my master’s degree was smooth sailing or easy, by any stretch. As I continued in the counseling program, life kept throwing us curveballs. During the three years of my degree program, we bought a home, sold a home, bought another home, and welcomed baby number three into our family. What is it like going to school with all of this going on? To borrow a line from Jim Gaffigan, “Imagine you’re drowning, and then someone asks you to write a five-page APA formatted paper on empathy.” Nevertheless, CCU staff and faculty were there to support me, cheer me on, and make sure I had what I needed to not just survive but thrive.
What a proud moment it was for me and my family when I got to walk the stage at graduation and receive my Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Though it was not without challenges, I knew that it was worth it for my future and the future of my family. I knew that with this degree, God could unlock amazing new opportunities for me to accomplish my dream of helping people and making a Kingdom impact.
In the year since graduation, he has certainly done just that. I have been working in the clinical field helping families through mental health issues and am well on my way to being licensed as a Mental Health Counselor. I will never forget the impact CCU left on my life and my career. CCU genuinely cared about me and my family, they cared about what made me tick, and they cared about my future. I will always be thankful for my experience at CCU and for helping me to pursue my purpose and my passion.
CCU can help you pursue your passion and purpose, too. Colorado Christian University is now partnering with MOPS to extend the amazing tuition discounts to spouses of MOPS members to help dads also save thousands on a bachelor’s or master’s degree program.
Skylar Cook is a Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate at Cornerstone Christian Counseling where he works with couples and adolescents to help them make positive life changes. He is a 2019 graduate of Colorado Christian University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. He and his wife Kayla have three young daughters.