Thinking about potential today, what encourages people to reach their full potential, how to structure accountability so that people will be active in realizing their potential and what things discourage potential. It somehow reminds me of the 11 people who came together in my graduate program. There was something special in the little over a year I spent with the others in my class. We somehow became coherent as a group, working separately, but connectedly toward social justice and realizing our individual power and abilities, which our experiences together moved us actively toward.

Now four years later I am reminded of that period of my life. It is another time of change and growth for myself and others around me and I wonder what it was about that year that made it so successful. Support is definitely one thing because it was an extremely challenging year. My graduate program was the MACA program at MICA, which was (it no longer exists as it did when I was a part of it) a 13.5 month program in addition to an Americorps year that had students not only complete graduate level course work in Community Arts, but also a 32 hour a week residency with a non-profit organization. We each worked on site at different non-profits and then completed work together as a class. We each struggled with how the two different realms we were in related to each other and what each of them meant to us. And as we talked about our experiences, learned how to communicate honestly and openly with each other, grew together as peers, classmates and friends, we became closer as individuals and a group. 

I was thoroughly impressed by what all of the people in my program did when I was working with them and I have continued to be impressed with what they do after we graduated. Something was right in the way our experience was structured to create the opportunity for us to work together and to commit to each other, to see that we all achieved what we could. Now as I am experiencing what feels like something very familiar with another group of people I wonder how much of my experience four years ago had to do with being in a learning environment and how much could be replicated in the working world.

Although as I write this I know the answer to my own question. It is possible to replicate it in any part of the world because the entire world is a learning environment. Money and being paid for what one does makes it more complicated especially because we are a culture that does not talk about money, but I think that ideally if we were able to reflect honestly on how all the different realms we move between in our lives (family, friends, work, etc.) work together or challenge each other and then are able to communicate honestly with all of those that are a part of these different realms, we ideally should be able to support and commit to those in our lives in such a way that moves us all toward realizing our individual potentials and our potential as a group, community and world. It is not something easy, but definitely something worth it.