Student Experience: The MA to PsyD Transition

Coming into this program, I had no idea what to expect. Although I was able to hear the perspectives of both former and current students, I remained anxious to begin.

I have to admit that although I tend to present as a confident student, there are times my fear and anxiety get the best of me. I remember thinking initially that I may not be up for the challenge and that I probably did not belong here. Realistically, I had never planned to enroll in any doctoral program because the four to five-year commitment was not close to appealing. Nor was the heavy course load paired with the daunting task of comprising a dissertation. I was supposed to be content with my master’s degree and jump right into practice.

However, if I had not learned anything else during my time at MSP, I learned that I have the ability to do any and everything I set out to accomplish. I am the captain of my ship and I have the power to steer myself in any direction I choose.

How can I help clients instill these principles into their own lives if I am not following them myself? At that very thought, there was a shift in my consciousness and I decided to aim as high as I could reach. Fear and anxiety would have to take a backseat to my dreams and I would take on this great journey.

Now that I am here, I have realized that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. This program itself can seem very intimidating, however in this short time, I have found that for me, staying organized and not taking myself too seriously has been my key to success.

I will always put self-care at the top of my to-do list because I cannot be the best student, clinician, daughter, sister, friend, or partner without caring for myself first. So far, I have been soaking up all of the knowledge I can get from professors to all of the long hours spent reading. There are days I look at the syllabi and I wish I could start a fire and burn them; however, I look ahead to all of the things I want to accomplish, and I push through.

I may not read every single piece of material, but I make sure that I have a solid understanding of each concept for the week. When I don’t get through every single thing, I don’t beat myself up, I remind myself I am human and ask for help.

My cohort has been a Godsend thus far and we have been very supportive of one another. I look forward to learning more, failing more in order to learn from those failures, continuing to build meaningful relationships throughout this process, and remaining confident that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

Erin White (PsyD 1)Erin White (PsyD 1) completed the MA program at MSP this past July.  She began the doctoral program in September.