Almost exactly four years ago today, I met the man I am now married to. At the time, I was tired of a job in the non-profit world and looking for a change. He heard my numerous ideas, from becoming a nutritionist, to working in publishing, to teaching. Nothing ever felt…right. I had always done volunteer work in social services/mental health areas, from rape crisis centers to domestic violence shelters. I don’t remember exactly how psychology became an option, but once it did, I knew immediately – this was right.
Then it came time to look into ways to actually become a therapist. I wanted to stay in the Boston area, and since I didn’t study psychology as an undergraduate, I felt that PhD programs were out of my reach. And not really my cup of tea. I visited MSPP for the first time during a “careers in psychology” day. I knew immediately that I had found the place that would fulfill my personal and professional aspirations. I also knew that MSPP had the reputation of being difficult to get into.
Not wanting to put all of my eggs in one basket, I had a Plan B. I looked into local clinical social work programs, and tried to make myself excited about them just in case MSPP didn’t work out. Of course, I heard that I got into all of the social work programs before MSPP. One even offered a substantial scholarship. But none of the acceptance letters matched the excitement that I felt when I received the email notification that I got into MSPP.
I was at work at the time, and went outside immediately to call my husband. It didn’t feel real until he knew. He has more confidence in me than I have in myself, so he was not surprised. But he shared in my enthusiasm.
My husband is much less impulsive than me. I wanted to send in the acceptance letter immediately. He helped me weigh the benefits of each program. Yet when I would start to go the more practical route (social work programs are shorter, and cheaper), he would extol the virtues of attaining a terminal degree. And he assured me that I had his full support to pursue a degree at MSPP. It is absolutely because of him that I ended up sending in the acceptance letter, and I have never regretted the decision.
My husband continues to support me in every way, from encouraging words when I am feeling stressed or not-so-confident, to shopping for groceries when I need to write a paper, to listening to stories about my day or my classes over dinner. I show my appreciation more than he needs (or so he says).
I’m sure that we all have people like him in our lives, be it a partner, a friend, a sibling, a parent, etc. Our support networks are, and will continue to be, so important as we enter the field of mental health. I’m sure most of us do a good job of letting the people in our lives know how much we value them (we’re in the mental health field, after all). But if you haven’t done so recently, perhaps you could take the time to thank one of your supports sometime soon.