Thoughts From A Room
In two days I am going to graduate from Prescott College with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Family Systems Theory. When I started college many years ago I wasn’t sure that this day would come. Now that it has, I’m not even sure if I believe that it’s happening. It’s a surreal experience and one that is unmatched by anything else in life. Twenty years ago I began my educational journey at an elementary school in Germany. I have also been to schools in Alaska, Tennessee, and Oregon, then finally ending up in Arizona at Prescott College. When I came to school here I was a bright-eyed, ambitious student eager to learn the ways of relationship. Since childhood I have been fascinated with ecology, noticing at a young age that creatures of the forest are dependent on the trees and the rain and the sun. I had become enthralled with how things are in a constant state of relationship to one another. It wasn’t until post-high school that I had come across the field of ecology, which is a discipline of natural sciences that observes how plants, animals, and processes of geology and meteorology are all interdependent and interconnected. Taken a step further, I found myself curious about how these same principles play themselves out in human relationships. Humans are innately social creatures; we are in a constant state of relationship with family, friends, colleagues, coworkers, and the general public as we move about our daily lives. This dynamic process necessitates some level of order, an agreement of how to be in this world with one another. I wanted to know how this phenomenon works.
The ethos of self-directed learning at Prescott College allowed me to explore this question with great depth and humility. I can’t say that I have any brilliant answers just yet, but I can say that I have even more questions and a method of approaching curiosity that allows for a sense of understanding to shine through the muddled backdrop of human functioning. Two-and-a-half years ago I began my quest of looking at the processes of relationship. I wanted to study the human link to ecology, wilderness, social justice, and art. My ideas of grandeur were to stretch myself across disciplines and pull vast connections across program areas because, like I said, it’s all interconnected and interdependent. I believe that an older generation than mine referred to this kind of person as a Renaissance man. I would suggest that this truly embodies a scholar in the liberal arts tradition. How was I supposed to accomplish such a lofty goal spanning the width of the college? At the time, I had no idea. It seemed impossible.
During my first semester at Prescott College I was introduced to Murray Bowen’s family systems theory. Bowen theory is a psychological theory based on principles of evolutionary biology that observes the continuum of human functioning and attempts to uncover how this process is regulated in congruence with natural phenomenon. From this lens I have come to a greater understanding of how human emotional processes work. I was able to truly explore what it means to be educated in the liberal arts. My studies have taken me from psychology to history and from art to activism. In addition, my curiosity of relationship has been satisfied….at least for the moment. I believe this curiosity will never quite be quelled.
That being said, my days at Prescott College are nearing an end. I have accomplished my goals that I initially set forth. I welcome all prospective students to follow the footsteps of many great thinkers and activists that have spent time at Prescott College. This is a unique place with an unparalleled breadth of opportunity waiting ahead. It is a challenging road, academically and emotionally. Those who choose to travel this path emerge with a greater aptitude to create the change they want to see in the world.