Monday, January 16, 2012

The Professional vs.(?) The Personal

As a graduate student, it's often difficult to balance the demands of the program (classes, research, teaching, professional development, community work) with my life as a non-student: as a community member, voter, and neighbor.  Though I've gotten better at juggling, or rather, integrating these two identities, it's still a challenge.  (An ironic challenge for a student of "community psychology," in my personal opinion).

A recent article in the Global Journal of Community Psychology, written by four Canadian Community Psychology Practitioners (Sherri van de Hoef, Purnima Sundar, Stephanie Austin and Theresa Dostaler), served to convince me that this disconnect I am feeling in the classroom might just be a passing, school-related phenomenon. The article accounts each woman's journey and career path after graduating with a Masters degree in Community Psychology.  While it's interesting to read about their diverse job settings and unique ways they are putting their degrees to work, more compelling are their personal accounts of being a professional, community member, and (sometimes) mother at once.  

I'd like to think that a community psychologist would make a great neighbor; someone who is involved, action-oriented, values-driven, and understanding of the community context.  However, when you have a career that you love and are actively involved in helping others' communities, how do ensure you stay involved in your own?

Sharon Hakim
Wichita State University, KS

1 comment:

  1. Particularly as a student, I think it's difficult to become involved with your community because you're usually only there for a few years. I feel like I've been able to throw some roots down because my MA/PhD program is a long one, but chances are I'll leave this community once I'm done. It must be an even harder challenge for those who are in shorter term (MA or PhD-only) programs to become involved. I hope that this will not be as much of a problem after school, but it also depends on how transient you plan to be. It's become increasingly common for people to go years without settling down in one place.