One Year in the Making

In less than two weeks, I will be walking across the stage at Alumni Park. According to my transcript, I already have my master’s degree, as it posted last month when I finished classes, but it feels weird saying I have my degree without having walked yet. I’ve been trying to figure out how to sum up my year at Pepperdine. Just thinking about everything I’ve been through, everything that I’ve experienced, and everything I accomplished is too much to put into words. I honestly can’t believe how fast it went by.
I literally just graduated from undergrad last January. I hadn’t been accepted (or even applied for that matter) to any graduate schools. By March, I had an interview lined up for one school and then Pepperdine sent me my letter of acceptance and the rest was history. Some of my expectations were met and some I was completely wrong about. I legitimately thought there would be more people my age, but I was the youngest person in the program from start to finish (my best friend was two years older than me, so it wasn’t too bad). I thought that I would be a shoe in for their doctoral program (also, wrong). I thought It would take me a year and a half, the minimum advertised completion time, to finish (wrong again).
Because of my age, I felt that I had to work harder to prove that I deserved to be there. I didn’t let it be known to my peers till after doctoral applications were submitted that my father worked in the education department because I feared they’d think that was the only way I got into the program at twenty-two. Initially, I didn’t make an effort to make friends because 1) they were way older than me, and 2) because I really wanted to focus during class. Eventually I made friends and I met my best friend, who actually lives fifteen minutes from me! Some of my older acquaintances always insisted that I was mad/upset with them or about something in my life, due to how focused and serious my demeanor was in the classroom. The mini cohort I was with for my capstone class was really great to be with since the majority of us were going through the same ups and downs while trying to navigate the application process for the various psychology doctoral programs.
Obviously, I learned a ton in the classroom, but I really developed a sense of what I want to do with my career. I still want to keep my focus in neuropsychology, but I now know that I love the assessment and diagnostic aspect of the field. Because of this program, I was able to gain an internship in the hospital I one day hope to spend my career at. My program also allowed me to count my job as a behavior therapist for field hours.
It’s weird thinking I’m done with this chapter of my education; I was just beginning to normalize that I was in graduate school. I mean just last week a sales associate at Disneyland asked me if I was excited for Grad Night.
“Well, I am not usually one for speeches. So, goodbye.” -Ron Swanson

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