How Quitting School Was the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me
Charmayne Kilcup, PhD
At the young age of twenty-three, I was bright-eyed, bushy tailed, and sure I wanted to be a therapist. I had just graduated college and knew that furthering my studies was the next step in my career. I had fallen in love with psychology during my undergrad years and thought the next natural logical step would be to get my M.A. in Counseling and become a therapist.
Being a native New Mexican, I had heard about a graduate school called Southwestern College that had a spiritual emphasis back when I was in high school. Living in Albuquerque after college, I decided that I might want to check out the school more. Spirituality and psychology were my main loves and I knew this may be just the right fit.
When I went to visit the campus, I knew I had found something special. The classrooms, the staff, the closets filled with art supplies all felt like home. I applied, was accepted, and began walking down the path to be a therapist.
My first year at SWC was incredible. Every day, I was deeply inspired by the incredible professors. My mind was blown with every class as I read The Power of Now, The Chalice and the Blade, and The Hero’s Journey. We did incredible projects where we studied Light Figures and presented projects on the divine feminine. It was at SWC that I began to wake up to a whole new world, a world I had always sensed existed, but never known. In this world, I no longer had to hide my spiritual side, as I was used to doing with my friends and family. I met people who could perceive the subtle energetic changes that happen in the body, discover past lives, and open up to other realms. The experience was like going to a real-life Hogwartz, minus the wizard hats and knitted scarves.
My second year at SWC was a bit of a shock to the system. As was in the curriculum, I began seeing clients at the Counseling Center. At 24 years of age, I felt like I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was trying to help couples, drug addicts, and people with serious mental issues and I felt young, inexperienced, and terrified. My peers and I would all talk in supervision and I felt as though they all seemed to know what they were doing, and I felt lost. Every time I went into a session with a client, I was petrified. I did the best I could, and I think I may have even helped a couple of clients (or so I hope), but it never felt easy and it never felt natural.
For internship, I worked at a house for people suffering from schizophrenia. While there, I knew I was out of my league. I started dreading going into internship and even began to have panic attacks. It was after two months of this, that I decided to quit the program. I was 100 hours shy of completing my internship and thus, my M.A., but something in me knew I just couldn’t go on.
So, at the very brink of crossing the finish line, I just stopped the race. It was a terrifying leap for me and I had no idea what I would do, but I knew the path I was going on wasn’t what felt right for me.
It was during that time that I began doing intuitive healing work. I pursued training with Dr. Robert Waterman, one of the school’s founders, and started doing aura balancing. It was during my very first aura balancing session that I knew I had found my “thing.” Doing a balancing felt like I was dancing. Where I felt clumsy, awkward, and unsure of myself when trying to be a therapist, when I was doing a balancing, it felt like some higher power was guiding me through it. I felt in flow. Balancings felt magical, intuitive, and easy.
Ironically, it was finding this flow, that helped me eventually return to SWC and finish my M.A. I even went on to complete a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology at Palo Alto. Today, I work as a Heart & Soul Coach and I incorporate aura balancing into my practice. It feels somewhat surreal to write this, but I can honestly say I love what I do. I didn’t pick the traditional path and while sometimes I do miss the security in that path, I know I am doing what I am meant to do. It is an adventure to be self-employed and working in the spiritual arts, and definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. But it is so deeply rewarding.
I can see now that my time at SWC was a spiritual calling. I was called to be there, it opened me up to the real me, and it was right for me to quit when I did. SWC taught me to follow my intuition and trust myself, which was such an invaluable gift. My time there also helped me to awaken spiritually, which has shifted me onto my Soul’s path. Going to SWC was the best thing that ever happened to me, as was leaving it. In the end, I am proud and grateful to call myself a graduate of this incredible school.
to learn more about Charmayne and her work visit her website click here