When I taught high school, I noticed students often seemed to be wishing their lives away. They wished time would pass quickly because only in the future would they be able to do what they wanted to do. They would wish for homecoming festivities to get here. They would wish it were winter holidays or spring break. They would wish it were graduation or even just Friday. As an adult in their lives, it seemed to be my job to quash these wishes and remind them that they only have the time they have now. I would admonish them not to wish their lives away and live in the moment, seizing the day and counting the rosebuds while they may. I wasn’t trying to be a party pooper. Seizing the day can be a lot of fun, and rosebuds do smell nice.
But, honestly, these days, I’m finding myself wishing this year away. I am wishing for a day when any or all of the various vaccines are widely available and effective. I’m wishing for the day I can travel again – anywhere, please. I wish for a time when my children can be back in school full-time with their amazing teachers and friends. I wish the future to be here now because I am tired of all this. I know you are as well. 2020 has been a year for the history books, and it will get the asterisk designation every single time it is mentioned going forward. We will qualify what we did this year with prepositional phrases like “for a pandemic,” “amidst racial violence and trauma,” and “during a stressful election year.” Whatever we did or did not accomplish, it was the best that could happen for a pandemic amidst racial violence and trauma during a stressful election year. Whew.
Even as I wish for this time to pass, I am grateful for my time as president of STP in 2020.
· The Executive Committee is one of the best groups of people I’ve worked with. I’ve been a member of the EC as a VP and as President for five years now, and no matter who has been elected to serve, they were dedicated, professional, interesting, and sharp people. I am honored to be among the people you members of STP have chosen for leadership. I am the first president of STP to have taught high school psychology as my primary teaching experience, and our community is the only one I am aware of that welcomes high school teachers as peers. I will always be grateful to the members and leaders of STP who have set that standard for our community.
· I am honored to be a part of diversity, equity, and inclusion work for STP this year. I chose to make diversification of our membership my top presidential priority this year, and the work became even more urgent as the year progressed. I am honored that leaders in STP shared their expertise and experience to craft our diversity statement, to participate in my APA Presidential Hour panel, to edit and contribute to diversity initiatives with our journal, and to develop recommendations for diversifying our membership. This work has inspired and challenged me, and I hope that STP can be an example for how an organization can make real systemic change for the better.
· I am so sad we could not gather in person for our annual conference, but I am grateful that we were able to offer a virtual conference – and we’re continuing to offer it! All members can still access presentations from virtual ACT, so I encourage you to login or to join and login as soon as you can. If you need a little uplift as this year winds down, experiencing the quality presentations and conversations from virtual ACT 2020 may be just what you need.
· These blog posts have been surprisingly fulfilling to write. As I shared from the beginning, I haven’t really found success being a blogger on my own. I overthink and overedit myself, making it hard to be timely and, well, concise. I am grateful to Tom Pusateri, Kelley Haynes-Mendez, and Susan Nolan for giving their input off and on this year to make these posts readable. And thank you for reading them.
I am leaving this presidency grateful for my time even though it wasn’t at all what I was hoping for.
I am grateful that STP is financially sound and was poised to weather this challenging year.
I am grateful that you all have shared your experiences throughout this year with each other in the effort to make even a moment of this uncomfortable time a little less uncomfortable.
I am grateful that I get to be a little part of the history of this organization, standing on the shoulders of the giants who have come before me and hopefully being a solid perch for future leaders to stand on.
May you find something to be grateful for in this pandemic amidst racial violence and trauma during a stressful election year. If you can find gratitude, may it carry you through the rest of this year and into that future we wish was already here.
Thanks for letting me lead you this year.
Take good care, all.
STP President 2020