by Marcus Berley
Life as a graduate student is often overwhelming. Take a busy schedule, limited finances, and a daunting reading list, and add in whatever major life transition you are experiencing at the moment, such as a divorce, a death in the family, or a newborn baby. Now, go write a sound, well-referenced, and creative academic paper.
What makes LIOS different from other graduate school programs is that, in addition to balancing a busy life, it challenges students to explore who we are and where we come from. What question have you always wanted—but been too afraid—to ask your mother? What are the rules of your family, and what role do you play? What cultural biases have crept into the crevices of your way of thinking? Well, your homework is to go ask those questions. To your parents. To your aunts and uncles. To your grandparents. Take all of that newly acquired systemic knowledge and apply it to yourself and your most intimate relationships.
Not terrifying enough for you? Well, you’re only reading about it, possibly imagining it, but not actually experiencing it. LIOS is all about experiencing. The theories you read make so much sense on paper, but watch what happens to your insides as you study group theory in a group that is studying itself. Your mind jerks. You scramble to figure out what is going on. Your heart cracks open. A teacher asks you if you have a tendency to avoid conflict, then challenges you to try another method with a conflict that you currently have with another student. Throughout all of this you’re being evaluated on a wide range of skills you’re supposed to be developing. Oh yeah, and it’s ok to cry.
Somehow, you’re doing it. You read and you write papers, and you tell your mother that, even though things have gotten complicated, you love her. You move apartments and split up with your partner or find a new one, you find an internship or a project, and you don’t have much time to look around. It’s graduate school. It’s overwhelming.
And going through it is wonderful preparation for life as a sound, creative professional.