Nathan Hayrynen (MA ’16, PsyD 4) shares what his experience at MSP has meant.
On my first day of school at MSP, I was afraid of not fitting in. Paradoxically, I was also afraid of fitting in. Not fitting in feels familiar and safe, floating freely on the periphery just under the radar and relying on my self-directed learning to guide me. Fitting in is scary, riddled with hidden demands and conformity. Everyone at MSP was so curious and encouraging; I never flew under the radar, but I did learn to fly higher.
I was drawn to the school because of the depth of exploration. Turning inward was not a solitary exercise. My cohort and professors became traveling companions on the peregrination of self-understanding, which later became personal growth and actualizing. The more I shared my inner world, the more accepted I felt. I was left wondering; why does this feel so different from other settings?
Many of the concepts and high-minded rhetoric moved beyond the academic. I was able to fully experience and practice many of the shared ideas. Congruence, empathy, and self-efficacy were present throughout the program. The core values of “We respect everyone. Period. We value genuine relationships. We practice what we teach.” were much more than psychologically-minded slogans. They were true aspirations that were practiced in the community. These values encouraged me to stretch beyond my perceived limitations. I felt obliged and inspired to give public presentations and share ideas. I wanted to be in the community.
The concerns about whether or not I fit in became a false dichotomy. I was able to fully be myself and be accepted. The community is a real gift to the nonconformist.