MSPP Student Ambassador
West Chester University
4th Year Clinical PsyD
Welcome to MSPP! You are about to embark on an experience that will excite you, exhaust you, stretch you and affirm you.
My name is Judi Pasino and I am a fourth year student in the Clinical PsyD program. Next year I will begin to focus my studies, in the Health Psychology track. I am also a nontraditional student, a student “of a certain age.” I am about twice as old as the average student at MSPP, so my perspective is a bit different from the younger students’.
I chose MSPP because I wanted to pursue a PsyD vs. a PhD. My professional interests lay in clinical work and not so much in research or academia. At MSPP, the curriculum is entirely focused on the student’s development as a psychologist with strong clinical skills, a solid ethical understanding, and the ability to use research findings intelligently. MSPP’s experiential learning model, which puts students in clinical sites from the first day of the first year, was very appealing to me. The model allows for immediate transfer of knowledge acquired in the classroom to the clinic. It is a very rich way to learn! I was drawn to MSPP’s emphasis on community. The reality is that we all have very tight schedules. Nevertheless, the MSPP leadership (both administrative and student-led) works hard to create opportunities for people to meet other students, engage in community service, and most importantly, relax and have fun! Students participate as their schedules and priorities allow.
Last but not least, I came to MSPP because I felt welcomed as both an older student and a professional with only the barest background in psychology. I am a certified chaplain with an interest in palliative care and end-of-life. At MSPP, my professional identity is welcomed and appreciated and I am often asked to add to the psychological perspective with my chaplain’s point of view. In my two years at MSPP, I have come to realize that you are welcome here, whoever you are, as long as you are willing to do the hard work and enter into the learning process. I’ve also found lots of understanding, support and shared viewpoints among the other “students of a certain age” with whom I’ve become friends.
When I began my first semester at MSPP, I was very anxious about how in the world I would be able to juggle it all. The first year is unavoidably stressful, especially if one has been away from school for a while. (I returned after 12 years away.) The good news is that the 2nd year is a lot more manageable! Looking back at my first year, I can identify a couple of things worth keeping in mind as you look ahead.
Speak up! They want to help you, but they can’t if you don’t tell them what you need.
Due dates are negotiable. As long as you keep communication open with your professor, he or she will work with you to make the workload manageable.
It’s about learning, not grades. If you don’t meet the standard set for passing, the professor will always provide you with ways to learn it well enough to do so.
Almost cliché, but definitely true: take care of yourself!!! If you don’t, no one else will. Give your body, spirit and mind a chance to recharge…
Again, welcome to MSPP!