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Reflections from President Blau: Beginning Again

August 31, 2017

Our monthly blog feature from Dr. Diane Blau, President of The Michigan School, discussing what’s on her mind and in her heart regarding The Michigan School and the field of professional psychology. 

President Diane BlauEvery Labor Day, I notice the presence of a familiar restlessness. It feels like the anxiety and excitement that I experienced on returning to public school after summer vacation. The thought “and so it begins” repeats in my mind. The it, however, is not one day, week, or month, but the entire year that looms before me. I am worried about the challenges I will face, how successful I will be in navigating them.

Each fall, so many of us are impacted by an impending school year.  We may be faculty returning to teach, students coming back to the next in a sequence of study, or first-timers embarking on a new program. And each of us, depending upon our personal and educational history, approaches our initial encounters with the onset of instruction uniquely.

The anticipation of starting anew may imply ongoing challenge, the potential for disappointment, or an upheaval of former fears. On the other hand, thoughts of school’s beginning could present an exciting possibility of mystery and adventure, the potential to discover more about one’s self, and greater comprehension and understanding of the world in which one is enfolded.

Whatever one’s experience may be, a pause for reflection is helpful in determining the meaning and significance of the academic life now unfolding.  It is important to tease out sensations and feelings and examine thoughts that are present. We can remind ourselves that we are not entering a whole year, but the first of many moments to experience fully. We can stop and breathe.  We can step in with care.

If we walk slowly enough, unfamiliar paths may lead to exploration and innovation, routes revealed that foster novel relationships, and footsteps illuminated that head to totally unexpected heights. This beginning is a distinctive time in our lives to acknowledge and value.