ሲስተሙ (ክፍል ሁለት)
I recently attended a Christmas program in which we were asked to reflect on the history and meaning of Christmas. Some focused on the fact that we should not celebrate it because Jesus and his 12 disciples never celebrated Jesus’ birthday. Others said Christmas is more about business, celebrated for commercial reasons with buying and selling, especially in developed nations. Others consider it a season to get together and socialize with family members. Still, others focused on why Jesus was born as a Savior.
Life was very affordable in Long Beach, California. As a bachelor, I was able to live by the beach in a semi-fancy apartment, pay all my bills, and still have money for entertainment left at the end of the month. I made so many friends from all over the world. One of my favorite spots, besides the amazing restaurants in town and the beach, was a hip joint called Midnight Café. It was named Midnight Café because it stayed open until the early morning hours. People from the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europeans, and Americans of all shades and ages frequented the café. I rode my bike around town to wherever I needed to go (work, grocery stores, bank, social gatherings, etc.…). After a couple of years in town, friends and acquaintances nick-named me ‘the Mayor of LB’.
While in Long Beach, I developed a keen interest in woodwork – used furniture in particular. As much as it became a hobby to renovate used furniture, it was also a means to meet a practical need of furnishing my apartment. On weekends, I frequented the Garage Sales that were so popular around 2nd and 3rd street along the coast. I loved finding old pieces from different eras and bringing them to life, creating treasured pieces. Some items just needed a good cleaning. Others needed more work; a full makeover. For the latter type of furniture, I removed the finish by sanding. Over time, I became good at achieving a uniform look and feel. I would then paint the furniture freestyle, I preferred oil-based paint, creating my own distinct look and feel.
As much as I enjoyed life, I started becoming a bit restless. I knew-beyond-knowing that I was destined to do more. I decided to go to graduate school to pursue my second degree. I had a very ‘unscientific’ approach towards it. I did not do any research on the best schools in the country, which schools would be affordable, where I would like to live, etc.… Instead, one bright morning I simply walked over to California State University Long Beach. I asked where the psychology department was and went there to find Mrs. Lisa Peterson and her contagious smile in the office.
Mrs. Peterson: Hello, young man.
Panos: Good Morning. I am here to ask if you have any graduate programs.
Mrs. Peterson: Actually, we do. We have a special 3-year program called Clinical/Community Psychology. It takes three years, as opposed to the typical two years, because it combines our Clinical track with the Community Psychology track.
Panos: What is the difference between the two tracks?
Mrs. Peterson: Well, it is nuanced. But, generally speaking, you can think of the Clinical track as a psychological approach that focuses on the individual. On the contrary, Community Psychology assumes that psychological problems that individuals encounter, to a large extent, are caused by environmental/external factors and that the solutions are also found within the community.
Panos: (I was fascinated) – So, your graduate program is designed to teach students these differing approaches.
Mrs. Peterson: Exactly.
By Panos Hatziandreas
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