The Students of Southwestern College
by Claudia Escareño-Clark
I LOVE this time of year. The leaves have begun to turn, and there is a distinct nip in the air. While part of me feels it is a time to slow down and reflect, I am caught up in the excitement of a new school year beginning at Southwestern College. What has been on my mind the past few days is what I love about Southwestern. Some things are a given. We have an amazing (I know that word is overused, but I mean it here), really amazing faculty. Our administration and staff are approachable and available. We have a specialized library and a librarian who is always willing to go the extra mile to get us what we need. The campus. Did I mention the campus? There have been so many improvements you might not recognize the place. And the location. Santa Fe, New Mexico. I doubt it gets better than this.
I know the college’s mission statement, “Transforming Consciousness Through Education,” is what brought many of us here, and while everything that I mentioned above has a part in achieving this mission, what makes Southwestern so freaking awesome (yeah, I said it) are the students that it brings together. Maybe at other schools you can decide if a course is good or bad based on who teaches it. Here it’s harder to do that because each class, even the same class taught by the same instructor, is going to be different with each new group of students. It really is a co-created experience. Does that mean you are going to love every class? No. But you’ll quickly see that you are a part of it, you are helping shape the experience. You won’t be reading, memorizing and regurgitating. That’s not what we’re about, like at all.
Now about the students themselves. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this one for days because I can’t quite put my finger on what makes them so special. I don’t know if deep down we possess some healer genes or perhaps it’s our willingness to go on this most difficult of journeys. The work that we do here may not require many tests or pop quizzes, but in some ways it is more challenging. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to look inside yourself and because of the students that come to Southwestern you can almost be guaranteed that you will not be walking this path alone.
Last week I attended our graduate assistant orientation and also took photos for the new class’s orientation, and I was blown away by the people I met. Because we hold our inner teachers in such high regard I think it allows us to see something inside each other that otherwise we might miss. Yeah, a Year Two student might know more things than an incoming student, they’ve taken more classes and might know more logistics, but that doesn’t mean we disregard what the new class brings with them. I still feel like I haven’t explained myself about what makes our students so special, and I really want to do them justice. Maybe the right words will come, eventually. Maybe it’s all about heart. And soul. We are connecting on different levels here. When you get to Archetypal Psychology you’ll know what I’m talking about.