I recently finished up my Master’s degree, which is integrated into the doctoral program here at Fox.
As I sat with my colleagues during the hooding ceremony, I realized how quickly these past two years have gone by. It seems like only a few months ago we were going through orientation and awkwardly trying to make friends while also appearing impressive and well-accomplished.
In many ways, the experience of graduate school feels like a plot from a Tolkien novel.
We are thrown into an adventure filled with triumph and trials, each new encounter shaping us and preparing us for the final push up the face of adversity. As we help others along the road, we get to see the good that small acts of kindness create.
Yet, there were moments when we forget why we took up the quest in the first place.
I have one distinct memory of sitting in the student lounge with a few of my fellow classmates at 2am while we were working on an assignment for our Cognitive Assessment course. It had been a long week, and the turn around time for completed assessment assignments was brief. One of my friends suddenly stopped working, closed his book, stood up, and said “I COULD HAVE BEEN A CARPENTER DANG IT!” We burst into laughter, which at 2am becomes laughter for the sake of laughter.
Often, I find myself reflecting on how I got into this field in the first place. Originally, I went to Duke University to study in their film production program and become a producer. I love editing film and producing moving art; yet, as I learned about the process of movie production I began to lose the ability to enjoy a good film. Although that interest began to wane, my love for psychology and human nature blossomed. I’m reminded of Tolkien’s quote in the Fellowship of the Ring…
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step
onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing
where you might be swept off to.” – JRR Tolkien
On the first day of class, I remember one of our professors saying “Grad school is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Don’t wait to live your life until you graduate – start living now.” I imagine that there were moments when Frodo and Sam wanted to pick up the pace, and yet the end of their journey lay far beyond the fields of their homeland.
This grand (although exhausting) adventure so far has brought me and my companions to a place of conscious incompetence. George Fox University’s PsyD program was designed as a process – to enjoy each step of the journey while moving towards a greater purpose. As I continue to learn and grow, so too does my pride in this school, my peers, and my mentors.
Three years to go, and a beautiful career ahead!