When brothers Navid Karimi ’18 and Nader Karimi ’19 were in high school, Navid had a desire to pursue nursing while Nader planned to study engineering. Nearly five years later, to their own surprise, the two brothers both have bachelor’s degrees in psychology and will both have earned their school counselor certification at the University of Redlands School of Education.
After growing up in Rancho Cucamonga, California, Navid and Nader—born a year apart—attended different universities but wound up in the same field of study when Navid realized his aversion to blood would get in the way of nursing and Nader found that he wasn't passionate about engineering. Upon completing college, graduate school seemed like the next logical step and they both ended up choosing the University of Redlands because of its welcoming environment.
“When I was accepted, I was able to meet with my advisor before school started,” says Nader. “It was wonderful to meet someone who is passionate about their job. The class sizes are also amazing—I haven’t been in a class with more than 25 students here—and I used to attend 600-seat lectures in college.”
During their time at the U of R, the school-counseling fieldwork requirement has allowed Navid and Nader to spend time in the academic environments they’ll be working in after graduation. For Navid, the experience played a part in refining his career aspirations. “Originally, I wanted to be a prison counselor,” he says. “But when I was coaching my sister’s soccer team, I ended up having a conversation with a team mom who was a middle school principal. I realized that I could potentially help students in their youth before they enter the prison system and ended up completing part of my fieldwork at her middle school.”
Even though they never had a class together, the brothers say that their group counseling course, taught by Professor Jeanie Lohr, stands out as a favorite. The class incorporates group exercises in which students, acting as counselors, conduct group counseling sessions. Navid and Nader say they learned new techniques and skills that will help them in real client settings.
Nader notes that the diversity of students in his courses was another highlight. “As a counselor, you’re spending more time listening than speaking,” he says. “The differences in age, background, and opinion in my classes led to fascinating discussions.”
For his part, Navid appreciates that he was encouraged to step out of his comfort zone. “I always thought I was an introvert and never engaged in things that intimidated me,” he notes. “My classes really made me come out of my shell.”
Navid and Nader have their sights set on becoming middle school and college counselors, respectively.
“We have undergone plenty of trials to get to where we are, and we’re looking forward to sharing our own experiences with students,” they say. “We want students to believe that regardless of the hardships present in their life, they are capable of achieving anything they set their minds to.”