Kari Eidnes (PsyD 1) shares what her experience at MSP has meant.
It is difficult to express how much MSP means to me. There are few places, whether that means organizations, schools, or communities, like MSP. It is a place of support, care, and growth and sets itself apart due to the conscious effort to promote diversity in higher education. True diversity in this setting is painfully hard. It has to be intentional, and there needs to be constant decisions to go against what is easy or expected. Instead, MSP helps to lift up the voices of people otherwise quieted, give space to those who have never had a place, and create a community for individuals who feel minuscule in the sea of academia. But above all that, and why MSP means so much to me, MSP continues to be deliberate in their choices to make themselves accessible.
As much as I love learning, school has always been very difficult for me. Growing up in Farmington Hills, and driving by what was then MiSPP (Michigan School of Professional Psychology), I would stare wistfully and wonder what it would be like to be a doctor. It was for the longest time, just a daydream because I felt I would never have the energy, stamina, or health to do something so intense. While I have always known that I have worth and something special to offer, I have also been cognizant of my significant limitations. It is not a unique thing that I need help, but my needs felt beyond what I could ask for. Despite living in an era of “No Child Left Behind” and disability acts, many institutes experience physical barriers to accessibility due to lack of money or support. However, in my experience, MSP has always held itself to a different standard.
From my first day stepping into an Open House to sitting down with the Director of Students Services to talk about disability accommodations, I felt safe. Asking for help has always made me feel vulnerable, but MSP has always rewarded that vulnerability. This care goes beyond the expected and permeates the staff, faculty, professors, students, and alumni. I remember the week I was accepted into the doctorate program, I was diagnosed with cancer. As scared as I was, and as unsure as I was, the entire time I knew I would be cared for, supported, and loved despite my limitations. MSP has made doing what I love, in helping others, accessible. MSP recognized my worth, saw the power in my diversity, and helped give me a voice. It is something that I will always be truly and deeply thankful for.