Graduation Goggles?

Posted on April 24,2013 by sthurstonmspp

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of appointments, interviews, and dramatic events that have melted away the month of April at an alarming rate. I vividly remember looking forward to April vacation, and am startled to find it has already come and gone. Finals are upon me, the end of year wrap up classes mingled with final assessments that have, this year, taken on the form of tests. Study sessions take up my usually free nights, and I am watching it all happen through “graduation goggles”.
This in itself is ironic: we are not actually graduating this year. We had a ceremony in October to commemorate our conferral of Master’s degrees, and next year will graduate the CAGS program. But this year, the one without any major academic milestone, feels like the true ending to what we think of as our graduate program at MSPP. Our full class schedule is over, this week being the final time we will all spend 12+ hours together drinking coffee and collaborating within the MSPP building. Next year we will be busy with our own lives, in our own full time placements, and see each other about once per month for a practicum seminar.
The eerie thought is that this means we are “done” learning- no more classes on various modalities of assessment, on the development of pathologies, on prevention. No professors handing out packets of information, of materials, of experiences. We will truly begin to learn by doing, to immerse ourselves in a 40 hour work week and practice being a school psychologist.
Then reality steps in, and reminds me that nobody- least of all mental health professionals- are ever done learning. But the classroom will have to change. There may never again be a lecture with a powerpoint and exam, but will rather take the form of self-directed study. Articles read, shared, and discussed with colleagues. Continuing Education seminars to attend and learn from. Peer supervision to expand our zones of proximal development.
It will be sad to move away from the traditional education model, to move away from my cohort and venture out on my own, individualized path of professional development. I happen to be pursuing the PsyD, and so may have a bit more time to enjoy the leadership of my professors. But I anticipate some change nevertheless.