Today is the first day in eleven and a half years that I do not have a standing academic or career reason to return to my alma mater. From the years of 2000-2004, I was attending John Brown University as an undergraduate student. Then, from 2004-2007 I was a graduate student in their counseling program and an employee. After I graduated in 2007, the chair of the counseling department became my supervisor - all counselors in Arkansas are required to have a supervisor they meet with regularly for the first 3,000 hours of their career.
Two weeks ago I passed a test that exempted me from the last 500 hours of my licensure process, and today my supervisor and I met and signed my "termination of supervision" forms. I'm done.
Though I know I will be celebrating this accomplishment more in the weeks to come, as my professional license number comes in and I really think about how much money and time I'll save since I'll no longer have to drive 40 minutes to meet with someone and pay him to talk to me about my clients; but today I feel sad.
JBU has been an incredibly formative part of my life (and how could it not be when I've spent so much time there for over a decade?). I love that place so much, I feel like I've had to be weaned off of time spent there. I was sad when I moved off campus after I graduated with my Bachelor's. I was sad to leave my job & know I wouldn't take classes on campus anymore when I graduated with my Master's. Now I'm sad because I have no more reason to go by campus than any other alum. I'm also sad because my supervisor, Dr. Carmack, has been more like a family member for the last several years than a professor or boss or supervisor. I'll miss his texts reminding me that it's been too long since the last time we met or that my 6 month reports are due. I'll miss him trying to convince Liam that he is another one of Liam's grandpas and giving me sound career advice.
Really, I think that's why I loved JBU so much, in the first place. It's a little school. A little school that may not have all the flashy bells and whistles of a large university, but what it lacks in pizazz, it makes up for in heart. Dr. Carmack may be the most recent faculty member to make a mark on my life, but he certainly isn't the only one. Just the other day I emailed a prof from my undergrad days to thank him again for advice he gave - probably 8 years ago - that I still value and pass on to those I mentor. I am so thankful for the men and women at this school who have given not only their knowledge and expertise to the students who sit in their classrooms, but have chosen to share their hearts, as well. If I wasn't a mommy who feels strongly that my energy needs to be spent on the little people God keeps blessing me with, I'd jump through every hoop I necessary to be able to be one of those women for the students who are currently enrolled.
Perhaps one day, I'll be back.