Over the summer I moved. I had been living with my husband (then fiance) in a rented house, one with a large kitchen and small yard, but the kind of place where bright paint seeks to hide old cracks, the heating bill for the old oil furnace is outrageous, and the faucet continually leaks despite all variety of handy work. My new home, our new home, may not be bright and shiny new but the yard is huge, there are multiple bathrooms, a gas heating system, and no cracks in the walls.
Over the summer MSPP also moved. The new building is immaculate: it is bright and shiny, infused with modern technology and trendy furniture. There are four microwaves on every floor, touch pads at every classroom door which allow you to look at the schedule of each space and book rooms as needed. The lights in the lounge on the third floor are whimsically reminiscent of fireworks, or the seeded head of a dandelion poised for a young child’s wishing breath.
Recently, my cohort and I had reason to reminisce and fully understand the change the new space has had on the perception of MSPP. In the spring of 2011 we all arrived to Interview Day, excited at the prospect of finding our place in the world of graduate study. For myself, I was determined to make the transition from working back to schooling as painlessly as possible: I wanted a program that focused on the practical, that allowed me to be in a school system starting my first year, and whose faculty were actually doing the work rather than just talking about it.
All of my classmates and I shared similar versions of the same story: dressed to impress, rehearsing potential interview answers, we faithfully followed the GPS which lead us down the VFW, enticed us behind the Home Depot, and down a road that hadn’t seen a new paving job in at least 20 years. And directed us to stop in front of a used car dealership. WIth a drop of the stomach that accompanied the thought “Of course this program was too good to be true” we ventured further down the road, arriving at a lot of cars pooled by a bend of the Charles River. A low slung building, blending into the dreary landscape of early spring, had one bright spot of color: a blue awning that boldly proclaimed “MSPP”. There were thoughts of turning back, wariness inspired by a less then awesome facade. Entering the building was a great leap of faith. We fumbled through the entryway, gathered name tags and a green folder, and tried to stifle the new set of worries as we spread cream cheese on a bagel.
Within 5 minutes I forgot the tumultuous journey, the road that spoke of strangers and dark alleys, and the unassuming building. Other green folders came and joined me at a small round table. Current students sat with us, the president sat with us. Conversation came easily, the way it does when you have found the people with which you share not only hobbies and interests, but values and goals. By 10 minutes into the welcoming breakfast, and certainly by the time Bob had finished his spiel on “Why School Psychology, Why MSPP” I was newly convinced that I had found the program best suited to me, one dedicated to creating a well rounded, well connected and high quality school psychologist. Here were the people who were not only working in the field but who were changing the field, the movers and shakers of the world.
So, to all you interested parties: MSPP is a wonderful place to come and learn. But as you walk through the glassy hallways and marvel at the art brightening each step don’t forget the real reason you have come knocking at the door. You are looking for a great program. You are looking to roll up your sleeves and get involved. You are looking to open your textbook and find footnotes about your professors and the contributions they are making to the field. The microwaves and free coffee machines are just the icing!