All good things come to an end. However, I don’t think most people would feel ambivalent about finishing a full-time graduate program while still working full-time. Yet here I am, grieving the end of the master’s program I’ve been enrolled in for a mere 9 months.
Perhaps it’s exceptionalist to say that I also don’t believe our program is like most programs. Though the Applied Positive Psychology Program is designed to help us to become practitioners in positive psychology (creating well-being in individuals, organizations and communities), we had to start with well-being within ourselves as individuals and as a group. The distance element of the program was no barrier at all since we reconvened monthly for an intense, 3-day weekend packed with class and socializing. Think: college on steroids. So it really did feel like a full-time graduate or undergraduate program, complete with roommates (thank you God/universe!).
I also know the program was part of a journey that for me began literally decades ago. The journey included persistent dreams about being in school again and my personal journey leading to discovery of what I believe to be my calling. So many people in the program, and the program itself, have changed my life and world view for the better and helped to enrich and enable my journey. My gratitude is so vast I can’t even find it’s edges.
But now it’s pretty much over. I’m wrapping up a couple of assignments, one of which is the write up of my capstone, which is no small task but completely within the realm of what I do in my day job. So by and large I am done with the late nights, early mornings, class conference calls, stacks of reading. I’ve been napping, watching TV, taking walks, trying to reunite with the friends I’ve forsaken during the year, and contemplating what to do next. And grieving.
Fortunately for me, one of my gifts is finding the silver lining. I’m still processing my grief, that’s OK, but I’m also looking forward to the next phase. Instead of saying goodbye to 36 of the most wonderful classmates and scores of faculty, I’m joining a larger community of positive psychologists and alumni. Instead of my classroom being within the walls of Huntsman Hall, my job, our community, our world is my classroom, and all the world’s citizens are my teachers. Homework will be of my own choice and design, and hopefully I can continue to write as I did during school. And my personal journey will continue, either way.
So perhaps instead of “all good things come to an end,” the positive psychologist and optimist in me believes it should say “all good things must start somewhere.” I’m at that somewhere. So are you.