Why I Chose Southwestern College
I believe that when you are considering Southwestern College, their mission statement will either ring true for you or it won’t: “Transforming Consciousness Through Education.” While that completely resonated with me on one level, I hadn’t connected all the pieces. Often when making decisions I will rely on the ones I’ve made before. Were they right or wrong, good or bad? Or I focus on what’s to come ignoring the “nowness” of the moment. I have learned more about myself in making the decision to attend Southwestern than I ever could have imagined. The thought crossed my mind about three years ago. The idea seemed extravagant. The tuition was nothing to scoff at, and time, oh that precious resource. But I started taking baby steps. I met with Dru Phoenix, the admissions director, and though I wasn’t 100% convinced at the time, I signed up for one of the required prerequisites. But something still hadn’t clicked. The more time passed the more valid my excuses for not going became, until I got to baby step number two. I was going to apply. Not commit to going but to applying. That’s all I had in me. And even in the middle of that I wavered and took a three month break from the process. Thankfully Dr. Nolan’s blogs were always there to put me back on track. One post in particular stood out. It was titled “Can You Afford NOT to Go to Grad School?: The Economics of the Soul”, and I realized that, “No, I couldn’t afford NOT to go.”
In May, the reason for my procrastination and vacillation in moving forward became very clear. Southwestern brought in Judy Weiser, a guest speaker, to talk about Photo Therapy, and I understood what I had been waiting for. I think it’s easy for most of us, at least for me, to assume that because something isn’t right at the time it must not be right at all. Sometimes if we are willing to wait it out just a bit longer all of the pieces come together like some cosmic puzzle. Three years ago, I still would have gotten a great education, but the opportunity to be a part of the Southwestern community with Judy Weiser on board as an adjunct faculty member was definitely worth the wait.
The bonus for me in all this is that I found the community at Southwestern College during the process. I had not experienced anything like it during my undergraduate studies so I didn’t even know to look for it. Because Southwestern has such a strong social media presence I was able to connect with current students, alumni and faculty, and I even had friends that connected me to people they knew that had attended. I never felt like anyone was selling me the school. Everyone I spoke to was sincere and open and understanding of my concerns. All they could really offer was their experience of their time there, and that’s exactly what I needed. I didn’t want to feel like a dollar sign on a budget sheet somewhere. When I walked into the art therapy building for Judy’s talk I saw several of the people I had met, and there’s no way to describe the experience other than to say I felt like I was home.
By Claudia Escareño-Clark