The First Few Weeks of Graduate School Revealed

The First Few Weeks of Graduate School Revealed


Photo by Julie Schadeck

Each year, the incoming class for the Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling MA Program (DMT) at Columbia begins with an intensive summer term.  During these first few weeks of August, we not only bond as a cohort, but we also begin to learn the fundamentals that will prepare us for what lies ahead.  We become more culturally aware of ourselves and others, begin to further our understanding of the mind/body connection, and learn the fundamentals of Laban Movement Analysis.

Much of these two and a half weeks is comprised of learning these fundamentals through our own experiential encounters. The DMT faculty at Columbia creates a very accepting and supportive learning situation, making us feel comfortable to openly express ourselves in a nonjudgmental environment. As students, we begin to experience expressive exercises that are presently used in dance/movement therapy sessions.   Though there is a classroom learning approach to the DMT program at Columbia College Chicago, there is also an emphasis on the importance of experiential learning.

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This type of philosophy has introduced me to a much deeper understanding of who I am.  By participating in these expressive movement exercises, I have begun to identify certain trends in my movement, and in doing so, I have begun to better understand how I move as an individual.  This may sound redundant at first, but discovering this connection between patterns in my movement and how I move has made me see myself in a whole new light, and that is part of the power of movement.  I entered into this program feeling like I had completed my Bachelor’s degree, knew I wanted to be a dance/movement therapist, and therefore knew everything there was to know about myself and dance/movement therapy. Boy was I wrong.  Through these first classes, I have not only learned more about the practice of DMT, but I have also begun to rediscover who I am from a post-undergraduate perspective.  I have begun to learn exactly how it is that I move and how this will play an important role in the understanding of myself and future clients.  These classes have shown me that the journey to finding myself and learning the practice of DMT really go hand in hand.

I know that, for my cohort, having the opportunity to experience these therapeutic exercises together has impacted our understanding of not only ourselves as individuals but also of our understanding of each other.  Sharing a process as passionate as this has brought us to further understand ourselves as a group and all that we embody.  Posted below is a piece that my cohort choreographed together during our first week of class.  It is representative of what we value as a group and see in ourselves as the next class of DMT students at Columbia College Chicago.

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There you have it!  In these first few weeks of class, I have gained a wealth of information and found friendship and support in this fantastically diverse, talented, and intelligent group of women.  While my cohort has gained a valuable amount of knowledge these past few weeks, perhaps one of the most important things we have gained is a strong bond with each other as we journey through these next two years together.