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Courtney Cabell: What MSP Means to Me

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Courtney Cabell (MA ’21, PsyD 1) shares what her experience at MSP has meant. 

If you would have asked me what my career plans were prior to starting the master’s program at MSP, my answer would have sounded something like, “Starting a private practice to do therapy using my degrees to expand my non-profit.” Today, my answer sounds a lot different.

Currently, I am a first-year student in MSP’s doctoral program, and I earned my MA degree at MSP in July 2021. Since joining the MSP community, I have experienced a profound change in identity and a newfound sense of self-awareness. Each day, despite the various stressors, anxiety, grief, and sometimes depression that comes along with being a graduate student, I wake up filled with gratitude because I know I am working towards my life’s purpose. MSP has been giving and continues to give me that.

Since my inception at MSP, I have been in this process of becoming, and in this process, I am learning to embrace change and growth in my life. I have developed lifelong bonds and friendships that I cherish. I have learned to lean on my cohort members and offer support when needed. I have discovered untapped creativities and passion in research, social justice, and advocacy. Most importantly, I have gained a confidence and self-assurance in who I am and who I’m meant to be.

I remember my first day of orientation in the doctoral program. I was sitting there riddled with imposter syndrome and still couldn’t believe I’d been admitted into the doc program. Dr. CK said to us PsyD 1s, “Every one of you belongs here. I read over each of your application materials, and you all bring something special to this school.” That has been my MSP experience every day; each faculty member reminding me that I belong. So today, when I’m asked what my career plans are after graduation, I confidently answer, “Research trauma and vicarious trauma of marginalized populations, psychological assessments, teach, start a private practice, and expand my non-profit.” This self-awareness comes from the MSP experience.