As an aspiring psychologist, I was recently in a training session that taught us how to validate clients’ feelings—to show respect for their feelings, display empathy, and exhibit active listening so that they feel heard. While learning how to empathize with the feelings of others, however, I’ve also been reflecting on my own feelings, especially transitioning into my first year in a Master’s program in New York City.
A few years ago, when I first moved to the University of Michigan as a campus ministry worker with Cru, I was fascinated by the return of the school year. I came from a small college, and the large university setting was mesmerizing. This year, I am not so chipper.
My transition from being an undergraduate to entering graduate school was ambiguous. I simply did not know when or where I was going. Discerning my vocation was a long, but important process that took about three years that started in my junior year of undergrad.
Same setting yet different pace of life. A transition from being an undergraduate student to graduate student at the same university is a place of mixed feelings. As I’m utilizing my summer by starting a research project, the reality of large time commitment is becoming very tangible for me as I realize how quickly time escapes from me.
As a young faculty person, with all the anxieties that are part of that identity, that quiet does tend to bring in some of its own challenges, however. It might even go to waste, slipping away into the voracious demands of the calendar. There’s a refrain of next-ness, for lack of a better phrase. What’s next, indeed?