Text from Skip & Lisa speech at graduation:
Congratulations, Cohort 2, you made it.
Last year when we were making speeches at POCA Tech’s first graduation, we were so amazed to be there — to realize we had actually gotten one cohort all the way through an ACAOM-approved program, a program that we knew was held together primarily by duct tape and determination — it was so amazing that we had pulled it off even once, that we sort of forgot that we’d be doing it every year. That is the idea, that every year, a cohort from POCA Tech goes out into the world, no longer punklings but full-fledged punks.
So here we are again, and it’s still pretty amazing, and some of the things that we said at last year’s graduation to Cohort 1 also apply to Cohort 2.
We want to recognize how much of yourselves you put into completing this program.
We want to recognize the sheer amount of time you put in, your creativity in juggling the demands of your lives with the demands of school, your resourcefulness in figuring out how to pay for an acupuncture education out of pocket, your perseverance and your bravery and your willingness to step out of your comfort zones.
One difference between you and Cohort 1…a joke among the faculty was that Cohort 2 was the “loud” cohort. You were the noisy ones. You brought the ruckus, in all kinds of ways. You were the ruckus. And we could list examples of that for hours but I think it’s actually more interesting to acknowledge some things that happened quietly in your cohort.
Since Skip and I got to be supervisors as well as teachers over the last year, one of the best parts for us was getting to see, firsthand, Cohort 2 develop in the clinic, as punks. We got to see the transition from you learning techniques in class and practicing on each other, to working with real people in real time. Doing real acupuncture for the myriad of problems that people come in to the clinic with.
We got to witness a lot of cool things you did, Cohort 2, and a lot of them were actually small, incremental, and quiet.
Like each of you, in your own way, developing confidence in yourselves in the clinic. Some of you struggled mightily with self doubt, but over two years of being in clinic, we got to watch all of you build trust in yourselves, in your own unique and irreplaceable way of being present with patients. We’ve seen you come a really long way.
We got to watch each of you build your trust in acupuncture. Many of you started out in clinic being overwhelmed when a new patient showed up with multiple, challenging issues, but by the end, you weren’t overwhelmed, you were able to pick a place to begin with your treatments, in the faith that your work could help someone else have a better quality of life, no matter what they were dealing with.
We got to watch you learn how to function as a team in the clinic, and develop confidence in your collective ability to hold the space. We got to see you run the clinic like a well-oiled machine.
And we also got to see you step into the role of mentors for Cohort 3. Once we had a permanent student clinic that wasn’t a smoking ruin, we learned a lot of things about our clinical program, and one of them was that the supervisor on shift can’t do everything. Cohort 3 had a much better experience in clinic because of you, Cohort 2, making an effort to take them in hand and bring them along.
Outside of clinic, we got to see you step into the challenge of facing the NCCAOM tests, which as we know, are mostly pointless and really awful. But the important thing is that you faced them together, you studied hard and you supported each other. And once again, you used your hard-won experience to help guide Cohort 3.
Speaking of experience…Cohort 2, you taught us so much about how to have a school. With you we figured out the systems that made POCA Tech more like a school and less like a completely wonky start-up, and so POCA Tech getting accredited (as we hope and expect) will owe a huge amount to your contributions. You made POCA Tech a better place.
And now you’re going out into the world with an extremely specialized skill set. We hope you feel proud of yourselves for the time and dedication you put into developing your skills. We feel proud of you. We have faith in all of you to be really great punks. Collectively, you’re going to bring tremendous relief to so many suffering, stressed out people.
So whether you do it loudly or you do it quietly, you’re the future of community acupuncture, Cohort 2. Congratulations.