The Commencement ceremony for Class 28 will take place this coming Saturday. Having guided them through the initial application process and watched them work through each stage of their education and training, I have to say that it’s an honor to see them in their final moments with us at the Academy. The building is buzzing with last minute preparations, final requirements being completed, and of course, Class 29’s arrival to take over where the 28s have left off in clinic! We can’t escape this circle of achievement.

Having a Commencement ceremony in late summer might seem strange. While the timing initially has more to do with the logistics of scheduling, there is an important link to the Earth element associated with this season of fading summer warmth and the onset of the harvest. Balanced Earth energy allows us to take in and harvest the seeds that we planted in springtime and then cultivated throughout the summer. The year’s energetic zenith has passed and we have more time to reflect on the investments that we’ve made and to take stock of what we have. We can begin the process of setting ourselves up for the fall when it’s time to let go of that which we have determined we no longer need.

So, I urge all the members of Class 28, the faculty, and the staff to take that moment on Saturday and take stock of the work from these past 3 years. For the students: trust in the work that you have done, the commitments that you have made to yourself and those around you. You have enough to move forward into the next phase of your lives as practitioners. For the faculty: trust that you have taught these students through your own experience, learning alongside them as you watched them progress. For the staff: trust that you have served and supported these students well, and that you have been an integral part of this moment of achievement. None of this could have happened without the commitment of each and every one of you to show up and do the work.

It’s easy for me to say that you know enough to go out into the world and share the beauty and art of Five Element acupuncture. Whenever the doubt creeps in, I remind you to look to your patients and see how you have influenced their health and well-being. They would not be doing so well without your insight and compassion.

And so, you will commence on Saturday. You will begin the next stage of studying for board exams and setting up your practices. I hope you all know that while these are important aspects of practicing acupuncture, they are just logistical hurdles (no matter how scary they may be!). The reality is, you are no longer interns: you are practitioners. And with that comes an important responsibility to remain humble, compassionate, and to stay open. This is your true challenge and I know you will meet it head on.

We wish you all the best as you fly off to your respective corners and we thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey!

Congratulations to Class 28!