Posted by Brook Ferragamo I am writing to give you and update and a thank-you now that I am set to graduate from UC Davis in June, with a B.S in Psychology and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. I found out last week that in the fall, I will begin another five year academic and professional journey as I work towards a PhD in clinical psychology at Alliant’s California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco. I am really excited to research current practices in psychotherapy for trans and queer people, and how to make these services more effective, accessible, and safe for these folks, especially those seeking to medically transition. CSPP in SF has a special research cluster devoted to LGBTQ issues, which is “right up my alley.”
During the CSPP interview a couple of weeks ago, a scenario was presented about working in a group. Roughly, the question was, “What do you do if you are working on a project in a group of three, and the other two members are not pulling their weight? One member is having serious family issues and is mentally absent and super busy, and the other is choosing to go out and party instead of completing their part. What do you do before the project is due, and if you get a poor grade, what do you do after?” I almost laughed when the interviewing professor asked this question, because I have seen my share of this kind of group at Da Vinci. As frustrating as it is in the moment (and heartbreaking when you work really hard and get a poor grade anyway due to factors outside of your control), real experience with this situation (especially during the more formative period of high school) is invaluable because there is no way to learn these skills in a traditional lecture setting. Needless to say, I nailed that question. This makes me suspect, though, that come the fall, group work is going to become a lot more common in my life– go Da Vinci!
Although my high-school self often struggled with the pace, organizational expectations, and academic rigor of Da Vinci, my college (and soon post-college) self is still thankful for the challenge that left me shocked when I started at college, not because college was too difficult or fast, but at how well-prepared I was, in spite of my previous difficulties. If there is anything I wish I would have done while at Da Vinci, it would be getting more involved academically, and not taking the opportunity for granted as much as I did. I am thinking now that I could have learned a lot more.
Thank you all again for impacting my Da Vinci experience positively, and your dedication to the school and pedagogical style.
PS: I heard this episode of This American Life recently, and in the prologue (for ~10 mins) they discuss in detail a study on group dynamics that seems relevant.