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Deira International School (DIS) - Dubai Festival City

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Deira International School (DIS) - Dubai Festival City

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Secondary counselling in the middle of a pandemic – a conversation with Buket Ayaz, DIS University & Careers Counsellor

We sat down with Buket Ayaz, DIS University & Careers Counsellor, to talk about some of the unique challenges she faced for secondary counselling the past year.

“This year has been a very special, but also a successful year with one of the most successful cohorts I have seen in my life. Our students have received university offers from King’s College, LSE, UCLA, and many other top universities, but it has been a year where we were all ‘planning for a future unplanned’.

We had to develop new ways to tackle the pandemic and the learning. We stepped up when it came to being resilient. The students were able to tell themselves that they just had to move on, despite the constant uncertainty. They did not give up!

The biggest challenge was that I was not seeing the students as much as usual in person. All my counseling sessions took place on Zooms and Teams. We held “College Readiness” group sessions every week.

However, this also turned out to be a positive thing. The online sessions made it possible to form a bond with the students in a different way and stay in touch. It turned out to be a benefit where I was able to reach the students most of the time – and give them information when they needed it.

The biggest challenge for the students was probably making plans when they didn’t know if the plans would go ahead or not. They planned for their IB exams, and the exams got cancelled!

They didn’t even know if they would be able to come to school the next day.

Meanwhile, I was working around the clock, and I didn’t know what my working hours would be like. I had to attend college sessions in different time zones to get all the latest information that I needed to share with students.

There are so many dimensions in my role, but the most rewarding part is knowing that I have not only helped students find their dream careers and schools but also impacted the journey of self-discovery by opening up a world of possibilities for them.”