Reinvent, Transform, Integrate
MALS has rebranded: Reinvent, Transform, Invigorate. These aren’t just words chosen at random to inspire excitement in prospective students—these are words that former students (like myself) will use to describe their lives after graduating from the program. Correction—these are words that students will use to describe their lives after they make the decision to enter the program.
MALS helped me reinvent myself by helping to inspire me to create my own life. When I moved to Houston from Fairbanks, Alaska in 2009 I had no idea what kind of work I wanted to do. When I thought about striking out as a freelance writer (with a dash of social media management thrown in), instead of dismissing the idea I gave myself six months to make it happen before seeking out a “grown-up office job.” Two-and-a-half years later, and I’m still working freelance, writing “best dressed” lists in my PJs.
MALS helped me transform in so many ways, it’s hard to count. The program helped me navigate out of a period of personal and career stagnation when I enrolled; the program helped me navigate through the death of a family member at the end of my time in the program; it continues to help me transform, stoking my curiosity about the world and the people who live in it.
MALS helped me integrate “school” and “the real world.” We get so stuck in that dichotomy that we don’t realize that they should go hand-in-hand. Lifelong learners are at an advantage, because they are busy absorbing information rather than dismissing (“squeezing out,” to continue the metaphor) information that is perceived as extraneous. What’s wrong with extraneous information, after all?
My MALS education helped me feel confident enough in my own creative and professional abilities to strike out on my own—in a weak economy, in a brand-new city where I knew no one—and find success. In the process, my own definition of success has been transformed (fewer power suits, but more time to walk the dog) and I have learned one very important lesson: If you open yourself up to what MALS has to offer, the world will open up in ways you cannot yet imagine.
I think current MALS student Ann Tippett is on the same page—check out what she has to say in her essay, “Leveraging crossroads with patience,” about the practice of patience, and about relaxing and enjoying the journey that we are on. In her essay “MALS: It was meant to be,” MALS alumnus Mimi Wright shows us how life can bring us full circle—there is something to be said about surrendering to the flow of the universe.
We are the authors of our own destinies, but sometimes circumstances require us to change directions—how we react determines what we learn, and how much we get out of each experience. Doesn’t getting the most out of life just sound fantastic?
Reinvent, transform, integrate—it’s even more exciting than it sounds. Trust me.
Christina E. Uticone
MALS Graduate, 2007
P.S. Are you a current MALS student, or an alum looking to continue the stimulating conversations you miss from weekly classes? Check out the new book discussion group, and send an email to Mary Ann Lovelock or Olga Lapczak to let them know you are interested.
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