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CNL 525 Topic 5: Case Study Scenarios

Directions: Read the case studies listed below and select one to complete the Topic 5 assignment.

Case of Li Mei: “Helping Li Mei Blossom”

For several weeks, Li Mei hadn’t been sleeping well. Concerned about sleep problems, her frequent headaches, and general lack of energy, this Taiwanese-American sophomore at Chapman University finally decided to make an appointment at the student health services center. To Li Mei’s surprise, even after ordering a number of lab tests, the physician could find nothing physically wrong with her. She was even more surprised when the physician referred her to the campus office for personal counseling. The idea of seeing a counselor was not particularly comfortable, but Li Mei complied. She just hoped her parents wouldn’t find out because she felt that this would be yet another way she would disappoint them. For most of her life, 19-year-old Li Mei felt like a disappointment. Overshadowed by the many successes of her older siblings, Li Mei knew she couldn’t possibly measure up. Although Chapman University is a highly respected college, Li Mei was keenly aware that she was admitted only after being placed on the wait list. In contrast, her 21-year-old sister was recruited by and awarded a full scholarship to Stanford University, where she was earning all As in the engineering curriculum and also competing on the Stanford women’s swimming and diving team as an accomplished diver. Her 25-year-old brother was now in his third year of medical school at Johns Hopkins and aspires to become a neurosurgeon. Although she had been a fine student in high school, with a 3.2 grade point average (GPA) at a highly rated, private high school near her home in Flushing, New York, and was involved in a number of extracurricular activities, Li Mei wasn’t a National Merit exam finalist like her brother and sister and didn’t have the grades for schools like Stanford and Johns Hopkins. She also didn’t have the same drive. After all, why bother? As the youngest and least accomplished child in the Huang family, Li Mei often felt invisible. For months now, Li Mei had felt increasingly discouraged. Lately, it was all she could do to make it to her classes, and it was next to impossible to see the point. After all, she didn’t even know what she wanted to do. How was she supposed to declare a major?

Case of Lakeesha Maddox: “Doors and Windows”

It was about 8:00 p.m. when Lakeesha heard the knock on the door. She was feeling more than a bit annoyed because she had finally managed to get both of her children to bed and didn’t want them awakened. Contributing to her irritability was the fact that her husband hadn’t yet arrived home from work. Terrence normally came home around 6:15 and Lakeesha looked forward to their shared time with the children each evening. Although cherishing the opportunity to stay home with their two little ones, this 27-year-old African American housewife and mother also admittedly craved her husband’s adult companionship and found relief when they were both home to care for the children.

That was six months ago. The officer at the door regretfully informed Lakeesha that her husband had died in a multicar collision on the expressway while on his way home from work. That knock, and the message that followed, left Lakeesha stunned, disoriented, and numb. How she would have managed to care for the children without the help of the ladies from church, she didn’t know. It took weeks for the message to sink in and it was weeks more before she could talk about it. Now, though, she had to talk about it. She needed to think about her children and find a way to provide for them. She knew that the life insurance money would only last so long. For that reason, she decided to return to her alma mater, Spelman College, for some career counseling.

When asked what she hoped to get out of counseling, several tears trickled down her cheeks as Lakeesha softly explained that she was looking for a window. Deeply religious, Lakeesha was clinging to the hope offered by a quotation she had often heard: “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.”

Case of Vincent Arroyo: “Casket, Closets, and Careers”

Some might say that Vincent Santiago Arroyo’s career path began with a casket. When he was only three years old, Vincent’s father died a hero’s death. As a firefighter in New York City, Vincent’s father perished on September 11, 2001, while attempting a valiant rescue of workers trapped inside the second tower of the World Trade Center. Although Vincent has but distant memories of his father, he has grown up in awe of him. Many a family gathering has included a moment of silence to honor his father’s heroism and, to this day, Vincent’s mother still lights a candle for her late husband each Sunday before Mass. Now 17 years old and a junior in high school, Vincent works every day after school at the bodega (corner grocery) in order to help his mother with the bills and rarely feels that he has time to do homework. As a result, Vincent maintains mostly Cs and Ds, but his school counselor told him he was still on track to graduate next year and to pursue his dream of joining the military after high school.

Perhaps this dream represents a desire to honor his father’s sacrifice. Perhaps it stems from wanting to also experience the admiration shown to Vincent’s fallen hero. Perhaps it reflects a desire to defend his country from the terrorism that claimed his father’s life. Whatever the rea- son, Vincent has long dreamed of joining the Marines.

Now, though, there is a problem. For several years, Vincent has been fighting an increasing awareness that something’s not right about himself. Although he hates to admit it, he’s figured out that he’s gay. At his most recent meeting with his school counselor, he shares this disappointing news with her and asks her opinion about whether he should continue pursuing his dream of joining the Marines. Vincent knows about the military’s past “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and, despite its recent repeal, has concerns about the military’s long-standing opposition to gay soldiers. Vincent said this wouldn’t be a problem for him right now because he is still “in the closet” and really doesn’t want anyone to know. He wonders, though, how long he can keep the secret.

Reproduced from Dugger, S.M. (2016). Foundations of career counseling: A case-based approach.

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.