Susan Weir (Psychology)

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A "Story from the Podium"

By Susan Weir (Psychology)

On my journey to becoming a psychology sessional instructor, counsellor and someone who refuses to live in a beige world, I have been influenced by many people. Some were the wind beneath my wings; others were the speed bumps. However, positive or negative, they have all made me who I am today. First and foremost was Dr. Paul Antrobus who changed life as I knew it. As an undergraduate student I focused on neuroscience; while interesting it was not what made my “happy feet” dance or my soul sing. Synchronicity aligned me with Paul – he allowed me to pursue the metaphysical side of psychology (naysayers hush). He let me fly in a programme that tried its best to ground me and taught me to always follow my heart. He also encouraged me to “live outside the box.” I do. He was an individual, the kind of individual I aspire to be. Even when his world was spinning out of control, he remained Paul (anyone who knew him knows what I mean). I haven’t had the guts to show up in a wizard outfit for the first day of class although I have been tempted many times; I have, however, taken his lead and come as a witch/ghoul/grim reaper/troll on Halloween. It gives the students a whole different spin on instructors!

I also rekindled my relationship with Paul’s dear friend, Dr. Buddy Wynn, one of the kindest, gentlest souls on the planet today. He had, during my time as an undergraduate student, lit a fire under me for parapsychology; his class was one of the best I ever took. He encouraged his students to explore the unconventional. I have lived that way ever since. Our friendship continues, and both he and Paul inspired me to be the best person that I can be.

Dr. Mary Hampton unknowingly influenced me to stay in school even though my crushed soul was telling me to quit as I was becoming psychologically damaged due to the “speed bumps” in graduate school. She possesses the most wonderful heart and modelled for me not only how to be a good instructor, but also a mindful human being.

Lastly, although there were many more people who contributed to my “aha” moments, both Dr. Carole Eaton (another long time instructor at Luther College) and Dr. Liz Ivanochco showed me what it takes to be an instructor who is interested in her students. They encouraged me when I returned to university in my 40s, after divorce and as a single parent. I realized that I could indeed be successful. I also cannot forget Dr. Oh who taught Buddhism – you sent my life on a whole different path and to this day I am very connected to the concepts of Zen. I am grateful each and every day for all of those who have assisted me on this journey, both in academia and in life. 

As I have a far different perspective on life than many others, I will continue for eternity to learn and grow, meeting many inspiring others along the way.