Phenomenology of the School Search

On January 11, 2023, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

When it comes to a school, program or college search, clients of course look to education consulting services like ours as a means to optimize outcomes. However, since no such outcome is truly within our control—despite our experience and expertise, we don’t make admissions decisions—we focus on guiding and managing process. After decades of working with families in this way, it has become more and more clear how the essential meaning and value of our work is located within the journey itself—what we may call “the phenomenology of school searching.” Humans are the greatest learning machines on earth! Life is nothing if not a process of endless learning. Phenomenologically speaking, we forge ahead with what we know/expect until something new or unexpected—a phenomenon– challenges our established assumptions. Such is the nature of living. When thus confronted by “newness,” we are granted an opportunity to act/react which may more or less may look like this:  fight, flight, flee or perhaps incorporate new information into an expanded world view and adjust, even if painfully—and keep moving. Dweck’s term “growth mindset” comes to mind here as perhaps the foundational attribute of a truly “happy” person. How a student, family and consultant operate collaboratively in relation to the shared, stated goal of a successful search has everything to do with outcomes, both measured by the literal “payoff” of a school of choice, and perhaps more so in terms of what is learned along the way—given the nature of phenomenology: the uncertainty of any journey, and the seemingly arbitrary roadblocks or gifts that may show up in the process. Such are moments when a person has the opportunity to learn the most about themselves, about their world and about their own agency.

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