I am amazed at how quickly the first year flies by. A lot has changed since the first day of school: I’ve changed my research interests (and methodologies) at least twice, I’ve made some great friends, I’ve found a mentor, and transitioned from working in corporate to working as a graduate research assistant. There are so many opportunities that come up throughout the year to learn and engage with others. My big tip for anyone about to embark on their first year of the doc program is to be flexible and try out as many different things as possible to help you figure out what it is you have a passion for. Doing so also lets you meet all kinds of different people and hear about their work.
Aside from the first year, summer is coming and I want to catch up on FUN. So here’s a quick list of fun things to do in San Diego this summer (although with our typically sunny weather, you can probably do these activities year round):
- Balboa Park: you can stroll through plenty of museums and gardens and watch plays at the Old Globe Theater (which has an outdoor theater July-Sept). On Tuesdays, San Diego residents can visit museums for free (the museums offer free admission on a rotating basis so check the park’s website first to see which ones offer on which week of the month).
- La Jolla: plenty of shops and places to eat in downtown La Jolla. There’s also the cove nearby where you can picnic on the grass and go down to the smaller beaches to swim and hang out.
- Torrey Pines: great trails for hiking and a long stretch of beach to lay out or walk along the shore. Del Mar is just north of Torrey Pines with places to eat and shop at.
- Temecula: an hour north of USD is Temecula Valley, Southern California’s wine country and has lots of wineries and restaurants to visit.
- Seaworld has summer nights from June 22-August 11, 2013 with nighttime shows.
I plan on going to these places this summer to decompress and relax before Year 2 begins. I do have a long list of reading to do this summer (thanks to my summer and fall classes) but plan on doing that by the pool or at the beach. Have a great summer everyone!
The reality of graduation has not sunk in, even though it’s only a few short weeks away. As I rush to the finish line of completing final assignments, evaluations, and wrapping up loose ends, I still cannot comprehend that this phase of my life is ending soon. While I will welcome a reprieve from reading, papers, and projects, I will miss many things about my time spent at USD.
I remember my orientation in 2011 and it scares me how quickly two years can fly by. For the first time in my life since kindergarten, I will no longer be a student. This shift in my identity frightens and excites me at the same time. I have no idea what I will do with all of my free time as so many people have asked me. I’m sure I will find ways to be unproductive and procrastinate, much like I do now. But, I also welcome the time to find myself and develop more hobbies and interests. Like many soon-to-be graduates, I don’t know what I’m doing career-wise. I’ve taken on a position as the director of a summer program up in Orange County. But, come August, who knows? I would love a position working in a school. But, I’m not naïve to the sad realities of our current education system and how brutal it can be to job-seekers. I tell others that I’m open-minded and that I’m willing to be flexible. But, how open-minded and flexible am I really? I’m not sure.
Like many, I question if I’m willing to move, to leave my home state, my family, my friends, my life here. Do I settle for a job that doesn’t inspire me just because it’s a “foot in the door” somewhere? This period of questioning and doubt is terrifying. As laidback and Type-B as I may be, I still find myself laying awake at night thinking about my future, stressing about decisions I haven’t even had the chance to make. I would love to stay in San Diego, at least for a few more years. Within the past two years, I have developed such an appreciation and fondness for many parts of our beautiful city. I have formed connections outside of USD that I cherish, such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters and my kickball team. There are so many places that I haven’t had a chance to discover, restaurants I haven’t been able to try, and beaches I haven’t been able to explore. But, if it’s not in the cards for me, then I know something else will fall into place. I will miss the community of USD, especially SOLES. I love being a part of this service-minded, open-hearted community. I will miss the beautiful campus and the re-assuring nightly sunset views. Most of all, I will miss the people.
The friendships I’ve made will not end, but they will be altered and changed. No longer will we be anchored by this amazing program and beautiful school, but our friendships will be centered around our lives as young professionals, trying to find our own paths in this world. I’m not yet ready to leave, but I know that my time is up soon. The next few weeks will be a blur of presentations, job applications, dinners, ceremonies, and “last-time” outings. All I can do is enjoy the time while I have it and be thankful for what I’ve been blessed with.
If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Constantinople.
-Alphonse de Lamartine, 19th-century French writer and politician
The above quote is one that I frequently stumbled upon during preparation for my trip to Istanbul. I didn’t fully grasp its meaning until I had the amazing opportunity to gaze on Constantinople (present day Istanbul) myself. To put the experience into words is an insurmountable task, but I shall try to give a taste of some of the highlights. Dr. Todd Edwards and Dr. Jo Ellen Patterson planned the trip as part of the curriculum for this spring’s Family Development Class. In addition to seeing breathtaking sights and going on historic tours, we visited three Universities: Bilgi University, Süleyman Şah University, and Doğuş University. During our educational exchanges with these Universities we learned about contemporary Turkish families, public policies concerning families, divorce, and the current state of the field of marital and family therapy in Turkey.
We had many amazing opportunities for touring and sight seeing while in Turkey. We visited some awe-inspiring historic destinations such as the Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (also known as the Blue Mosque), the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, the Galata tower and numerous others. Another highlight included taking a ferry ride across the Bosphorus, which afforded beautiful views of both European and Asian sides of the city. One of my favorite experiences on the trip was a walk we took through the streets of a historic neighborhood where we were able to have a glimpse of every day life and see children at play.
Marital and Family Therapy in Turkey:
Our educational exchanges at the three Universities we visited far exceeded any expectations I could have possibly had. Our first exchange was with Bilgi University. We met Emre Konuk and Eda Arduman and learned about the state of the marital and family therapy profession in Turkey. We also learned about the Couple and Family Therapies Association or Çift ve Aile Terapileri Derneği in Turkish, and the work of its members to formalize a licensure for MFTs in Turkey. Our second exchange was with Süleyman Şah University where sociologist Dr. Serap Kavas presented on Family and Change in Turkey. Dr. Patterson and Dr. Edwards also gave a presentation, which was on American Couples Considering and Coping with Divorce. It was extremely interesting to hear the two presentations back to back and to see the commonalities between American and Turkish families as well as the differences.
Our day at Doğus University began with the opportunity to meet Sibel Erenel, Nilufar Kafescioglu and Yudum Akyil who presented on Family Therapy and Research in Turkey. They were extremely knowledgeable and it was easy to see that they were passionate about their profession and cared deeply about their students. They are also part of the Couple and Family Therapies Association and the work being done to formalize a licensure for MFTs in Turkey. A highlight of the day was the opportunity to watch a live therapy session. One of the students was brave enough to allow us to watch her therapy session and provide feedback during a post session discussion. Another highlight of the day occurred when Dr. Patterson and Dr. Edwards gave a presentation on Family Therapy in Primary Care. The president of the International Family Therapy Association, Fatma Torun Reid, introduced them and discussed one of their books, Essential Skills in Family Therapy. It was exhilarating to be reminded that our professors are leaders in our field and their works are known worldwide. We ended our eventful day by going to dinner with faculty and students from Doğus University. The opportunity to have dialogues with leaders in the field of marital and family therapy, not only in Turkey but worldwide was an extremely humbling experience. I realized how truly blessed we are to have these amazing opportunities afforded to us as part of our education at USD.
- Class size: I went to Arizona State University for undergrad. It was an amazing experience but I didn’t get any individual attention. I knew who my professors were but they could barely keep us straight. I was just a number in a 400-person class. My professors didn’t know if I attended class, quit the program or went missing. While that did have its benefits on lazy days, I wasn’t held accountable. When I decided to go to graduate school, I knew I wanted a place where my professors knew my name, cared about my success and held me accountable. That is exactly what I have received from the professors in the CMHC program.
- USD’s campus: When I walked on the USD’s campus for the first time, I knew I could see me furthering my education there. The students were friendly and the campus took my breath away. The benefit of USD’s campus is that it is not over crowded, too big to walk around or confusing. Plus, it’s beautiful. If you are considering USD to continue your education, I would recommend spending time on campus, so you can see how amazing it truly is!
- San Diego: One of the main reasons I decided to go to USD was because it is in the middle of San Diego. San Diego is amazing because there are so many parts to it. No matter what kind of lifestyle you like to lead, San Diego has it! Downtown is amazing for city life. It is so clean and easy to drive around; it is perfect to live in or visit for a few hours. San Diego also has amazing beach towns. There are quiet beaches for relaxing in North County and fast-paced beach towns closer to USD. Whatever you are looking for, San Diego is the place for you!
If you are considering USD for graduate school, I would recommend spending a few days here to see the benefits of USD and San Diego.
I am a second semester graduate student from the leadership program at SOLES. These two past semesters have been like a daring, fun roller costar ride. The reason that I say that is because of the new “language” that SOLES provides to students. This revolutionary way of teaching and learning is so great because helps me to see my life in a different light, which helps me to move forward, and not be stuck. I mentioned the roller coaster metaphor because this program pushes you to do inner work in order to understand the concepts. One example of this was during my first semester when I learned about “Mental Models”. It was not until this semester that I finally understood it. One thing that helped me understand this concept was the ladder of inference. Let me explain, “Mental Models” are “Deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, pictures or images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action” Senge (1990). The ladder of inference helps us to see the process of mental models. Below is a picture with this process.
LADDER OF INFERENCE
I hope this will be the start of seeing behaviors and reactions in a different light. Please if you have more questions about this subject do not hesitate to ask, and I will be happy to replay.
As graduation from the Higher Education Leadership M.A. program gets closer, I can’t help but to think about all of the great experiences I have had here at USD. Taking classes while working on campus has been an invaluable experience that has enriched me scholastically, professionally, and personally. I have met some truly inspiring people, attended events and conferences that have expanded my personal and professional growth, and increased my problem solving and critical thinking skills. This program has improved my ability to understand the systemic, dynamic functioning of organizations and how to effectively adapt to challenges that arise in a variety of situations. Perhaps the most useful tool I have learned is how to recognize both my strengths and areas that need improvement. Studying the concept of authority and the various roles that people take up in relation to authority figures has been, and continues to be, a key part of my development as a leader. The program has been challenging, rewarding, and definitely rigorous at the same time. Part of navigating this experience successfully has been learning how to reduce anxiety, focus clearly on both the short term and long term goals, while finding order in the chaos. I have compiled a smorgasbord of photos that I either took myself or downloaded from the internet over the past two years, photos that tell a bit about my journey into Higher Education Leadership and my life during my time at USD …
It’s only April but I am beginning to think about graduation and what my life will be like after leaving the beautiful USD campus. About a month ago I started thinking a lot about finding a job after graduation and about leaving school; it’s a scary thought since I have been in school for 19 years, almost my whole life. Recently, I got an email from Dr. Edwards with an invitation to a workshop titled What to Expect After Graduation. The attached flyer was from two licensed MFT’s and it read: “Simply put, we were once about to graduate from our MFT programs and had no idea what to expect! We’d like to support you – our upcoming graduates – as you join our mental health community”. I was so excited and grateful to receive this email. Although the faculty had provided information about job hunting after graduation, I was excited about the opportunity to attend an entire workshop dedicated to the topic. I was especially excited that recent graduates from MFT programs in San Diego would be providing the information because I believed they would be knowledgable, straightforward and honest (Good guess on my part, because they absolutely were!).
The two licensed MFT’s, Anne Marie and Lisa, held the workshop at their private practice, Healing Path San Diego Therapy Services. Their office was beautiful and provided a calm, comfortable atmosphere for the anxiety-provoking topic. As I arrived at the workshop and sat in my seat I thought about what I wanted to get out of the morning. I wanted to learn about useful websites to search for jobs and about how to find supportive supervision after graduation. I definitely learned this information, but more importantly, I took home a new perspective that I have been carrying with me ever since. They asked us to enter into the workshop from a place of “giving” as opposed to “getting”. They explained that it is typical for soon-to-be graduates to feel anxious about how to pay bills and how to get a job and that this comes from a place of “what I can get.” Thinking in this survival mode puts us in a place of “I don’t have” and is a negative mindset. They suggested a different approach to the job search (and life in general) which is to come from a place of “what I can give”. This means thinking about our own strengths and experiences that we have to offer to a workplace and to our clients. This is coming from a place of abundance, which is much more positive. I became a therapist because I wanted to “give” to people so this resonated with me deeply. I want to give clients hope, understanding, support, and a listening ear. This new perspective also allowed me to think about what I do have to offer potential employers and clients. I can offer my experience, a superb USD education, work with diverse clients at my practicum site, and my deep wish to help others find happiness and balance in their lives. The concept of “giving” versus “getting” has stuck with me since the workshop and I have tried to integrate this way of thinking into my personal and professional life and have found it to be immensely valuable and rewarding.
After leaving the workshop, I truly had a sense that I had made the right choice in entering the MFT field. Ann Marie and Lisa reminded me that my colleagues are people that are passionate about giving back and caring for others. I am excited to enter the field as a professional in a few short months and to see what I can give to the MFT community and my future clients!
Feel free to check Ann Marie Smith and Lisa Maley’s practice: Healing Path San Diego Therapy Services at www.healingpathsd.com