Parallel Process – A Rap Love Song to My Job



During this past academic year,  fellow faculty members met in small inquiry groups to study our work in the advisement of graduate students in supervised fieldwork. The process was reflective, exciting, daunting and helpful. How do we assist graduate students in developing their personal and professional selves as they prepare to work in public and private schools, museums and hospitals? The lyrics to this song came to me as I tried to wrap my brain around the work that we do – and how to represent it to others who have never experienced the challenges and joys of advisement, as either a graduate student or a faculty member. Here is what came to me in the middle of a sleepless night.


Parallel Process

While our students figure out

Who they are in this world

We relate to  their struggles

As our own lives unfurl.

It’s a parallel process

A p-p-p- parallel process.

In hospitals we see kids

screamin and cryin’

In pain – sometimes dyin’

Child life students must

Self regulate

Show compassion while they separate

Their emotional reactions

from the situation at hand

And of us, their advisors

The same thing life demands.

It’s a parallel process

A p-p-p- parallel process.

Some kids visit our museums

Backpacks brimming toxic stress

When they get to their schools

They must be taught to the test.

There’s no play in kindergarten

No longer room for recess

Teachers fight an uphill battle

And that sure ain’t no joke

It’s hard to be emotionally responsive

In a system that’s broke.

Grad students have their triggers

And no different are we.

So We all come here together


It’s a parallel process

A p-p-p- parallel process.

In conference group we meet

face to face and online

Same things simmer and bubble

And emerge over time.

Balancing our own agenda

With a more organic flow

Asking open ended questions

As we all reach for mo’.

It’s a parallel process

A p-p-p parallel process.

We are narrative historians

keeping track of their themes

We model sitting with

The silence….


Because we know where it leads.

We Work on professional boundaries

While we explore our humanity

We fight for Social justice

Equal accessibility.

And with growing awareness

We examine the threat

Of Stereotype – As we help them to reflect

We all stumble in the darkness

Trying to shed our own light

It’s a parallel process

As they learn to take flight.

It’s a parallel process

A p-p-p- parallel process.

By Deborah B. Vilas

April 27, 2016

4 thoughts on “Parallel Process – A Rap Love Song to My Job

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