I want to take a few moments to thank everyone who participated in our annual summertime Open House at the end of June.  We had a large turnout of prospective students and community members who spent the day learning more about our Master of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Studies programs. I want to thank the prospective students who came with their families to ask questions and share their interests in becoming practitioners of Chinese medicine. And I want to thank the faculty, current students, and staff who came to share their experiences and offer advice.  Everyone contributed to make the day both informative and inspirational.

Classes 24 and 25: Graduation Day

In reflecting on the excitement generated from this year’s Open House, and thus looking ahead to the start of the new class in August, I can’t help but imagine what the journey for this new class will be like.  It’s hard not to wonder considering all of the milestones  current classes have reached in the last several weeks.  The sense of transition and circularity of life have been extremely strong of late.  At the beginning of June, we said good-bye to  Classes 24 and 25 as they celebrated their graduation. The last few weeks leading up to graduation went fast and furious as they worked to finish their treatments in the clinic, transition their patients to the interns in Class 26, take final exams, and start packing up their lives in Gainesville. It was hard not to get caught up in the frenzy. The anticipation of  finally completing this long-awaited goal was palpable, and there were many conflicting emotions for students and administration alike: happiness and excitement met with sadness at the prospect of saying good-bye and good luck.

In the background, Class 26 completed Level One of their clinical residency, moving on to Level Two.  Class 27 finished the second year of their program and started preparing for the start of their clinical residency in September.  Class 28 finished the first year of their program. They come back in September for their Year One exams (and exam nerves have definitely already taken hold).  Each session has seen the attainment of a new milestone in the journey to becoming an acupuncture practitioner- with all of the conflicting energies and emotions that those transitions bring.

And during those same weeks, my desk was covered in applications from students seeking admission to the new class. The evolution of each cohort, old and new, have been very pronounced: good-byes mingled with hellos. There have been so many endings and beginnings circling us with each week that it’s easy to see how constant change is. One gets almost comfortable with it.

And while the culminations of May and June provided springboards into the future, August and September promise new levels of achievement. As we move past the summer solstice into the second half of the year, we celebrate the current moments while looking ahead to the future. As the Admissions Coordinator, I get to watch where each student begins, and as the Registrar, I get to catalog their growth along the way. The best advice I can possibly give to any student, past, present and future, is to keep a strong hold of the big picture: each pulse taken, each exam, each needle, each patient is part of one single goal. Fears over the first needle quickly turn into confidence with each treatment. So, celebrate today’s achievements, know that tomorrow is coming, because it helps remind you where you came from.

I send much love and many congratulations to all of our students for all of the accomplishments of the last few weeks!  Your hard work and courage are truly awe-inspiring.  In the meantime, the administration will hold the center, actively preparing for the next milestones, welcoming the changes to come.