Author  DRBU Staff

How did you first come to DRBU?

Candie: I first came to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas when Professor Bhikshuni Jin Jr hired me for the girls’ school, and then the boys’ school also hired me to help. After DRBU was WASC certified, they asked me to be the college counselor. And so I started at DRBU, too, and ended up being here the most.

In your career as a college counselor, is there something that resonates strongly in your heart that has brought you joy and inspiration? 

Candie: I’ve always liked to help people. If somebody was being a bully in class, I was always the one to put a stop to it—I was that girl! And later I attended various classes on college study skills. I got my master’s degree in college counseling and psychology. I learned how to help students get into school, to let them know what they need to know, and to determine what the research in this area was saying. So, I’ve done a lot of research on that, and that’s been fun. A lot of what we tell our students about how they can study and process everything has very little utility. But there are about three or four different things that you can do that have really high utility. Knowing them can help you, and so I always liked to help students with that. 

I also have three sons, and a lot of it was about my desire to help them. I wanted them to know about study skills. It’s really gratifying to help someone discover what they need to do in order to do something well, and I think that’s what resonates with me. It is to help people know what the research is saying and what really does help so the college application process isn’t so scary. I want them to know that what you did in high school sometimes doesn’t translate to what will help you in college. And then I do this with the disabled students’ program too. But helping people help themselves, I think, is what’s interesting to me.

Is there a process on how you help students find clarity in their career pathways?

Candie: As a career counselor, I also work with some adult students. And it’s really interesting how adults who are really bright and are able to do all kinds of things can’t really navigate their career moves—where do I start? So, my job is that I’ve put together a kind of process for people to think through this—what do you want to be? What is the research saying that you need to know about your interests, values, personality, score, etc.? So, I help them think about those and how they kind of key into different career pathways. And it’s been a lot more fun in the last 10-15 years because there are many resources online. If you want to be a physician, you can easily look up all kinds of things that students can read ahead and say, “Oh, I didn’t know. I don’t want to do that.” So, there are a lot of ways of helping them get the information they need to make good decisions for themselves. 

What do people do when they don’t even know what they’re interested in? How do you help them starting from there?

Candie: We start with thinking about what you want to be doing. I think students have to know what their skills are. What kind of personality do they have? And most importantly, what are their values? And there are a whole lot of resources available on how to clarify your interests and skills and look deeper at your values. We have assessments that we use for all those different areas, so they can start getting clarity and answers. And I use different resources to help students with that.

In your own career, it looks like you’ve continued to educate yourself all your life in this area.

Candie: Yeah, I’m always taking classes on different kinds of counseling because I’m interested in that. If I wasn’t able to do that, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing. Because I think you have to be updated. You have to know what the new stuff is. For instance, back in the day, they used to say that personality was the most important thing to know for students to be happy and fulfilled in their career pathway. They said that back then, and that’s still true, but new research right now is telling us that the most important thing is values. And DRBU is all about cultivating values.  So, I think this is really a good time to land at this place. And I’ve come to think that personalities, skills, and other things are important too, but fundamentally, it’s your heart. That’s what is most important.