Guest Blogger: Amanda Taylor

Along with being a born and bred Ann Arborite, Amanda Taylor is a recent graduate of EMU's clinical behavioral psychology masters program. She lives on the Old West Side with a friend she's had since the 3rd grade at Eberwhite elementary, and about six blocks away from her childhood home. While both of Amanda's parents have moved from the area, she's stuck around for a few reasons. When she's not reading up on psychology, she can be found in her garden, perusing Downtown Home and Garden, or trying out a new recipe in her well-loved kitchen. 

Higher Ed, Higher Calling

As a kid, I never imagined that I would stay in the area for the duration of my twenties, but as higher education became my priority, my root system here grew stronger than I had imagined. The opportunity to work with innovative and inspiring psychologists at Eastern Michigan University coupled with the benefits of having a built-in support system was hard to pass up, so I stuck around for my education rather than trying my hand at something new. 

And I'm glad that I did. Eastern Michigan University has changed the trajectory of my life. Not only have I discovered a love for psychology, but as a result, I've been able to meet psychologists from around the world in my particular area of interest, in a global exchange of ideas that I've been encouraged to not only learn from, but contribute to.  I've also had an amazing opportunity to get my feet wet as an instructor. I'm currently teaching a class that not so many years ago I took myself. In this regard, the department is small enough for me to feel like I have a voice, but big enough to be able to inspire me to do new and interesting things, while keeping my connection to the community that I so value.  It's exciting to think about inspiring someone the way I was inspired as an undergrad at EMU, and the Ann Arbor area is one of the greatest places in the U.S. to do that. One of the greatest lessons that I've learned from my experience is that you don't have to be independently wealthy or an off-the-charts genius to pursue higher education, which is a message that I look forward to spreading as I get my feet wet as a psychologist and educator. 

Towards this end, the open exchange of ideas in this academic environment is something that I value, and that is readily available in the Ann Arbor area, which I think is worth sticking around for.  There are so many opportunities for education in this area and I would love to be involved with higher education as I advance in my career. 

On top of the educational opportunities that the Ann Arbor area offers, another one of the things I love about the area is that there is not just one "Ann Arbor experience," as the city presents itself differently to everyone. I've lived here my whole life and am still discovering new and interesting things about this city and the people in it – which at the moment is too intriguing to me to leave. The city's culture around valuing diversity is very appealing to me, and I hope that Ann Arbor continues to grow in a diverse way. 

At the same time, I recognize the privilege that comes along with being able to live in such an interesting and inspiring place. I so much value the opportunity to work with and learn from people of different ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender/sexual orientation backgrounds, and appreciate an open dialogue in this regard. Toward these ends, I've found the Ann Arbor area and EMU to be quite rewarding, although I recognize and see room for growth as well. For instance, I see room for the community to look inward, and address discrepancies that exist between experiences in the city (and university) with regard to ethnicity and socioeconomic status. 

I would love to find work as a clinician in the area but as the job market is still somewhat limited here, I am keeping an open mind to new places as well. In this regard, realistically, I'll likely go wherever I can find fulfilling employment, but if that employment helps me to deepen my roots in this area, that's even better!
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