This is the part of my job that I hate the most: deciding whether another individual should be allowed to join my profession. It is wholly necessary and yet I detest it. Students come through as fourth years, having spent so much time, money, sweat, and blood towards earning this degree, and sometimes the conclusion I come to is that they ought to be denied their long sought after goal. Some times it’s easy to make that decision because they have a terrible attitude, which is most often the case. But occasionally the cause for concern is actual competency. A student has put in as much effort as possible but has still fallen short. At this point it is tempting to turn and blame the admissions department for a failure on their part, but that does nothing to solve the current problem. Here we have student who has put themselves often a hundred thousand dollars in debt and I want to send them packing with nothing to show for it.
I am never the sole person responsible for making this decision, thank goodness. I stand with a whole crowd of clinicans and professors who work together to come to a decision. The ability to shoulder the responsibility as a group lightens the burden somewhat. But in the end, our collective decision comes from each of us making our own individual decision. Yay or nay.
Do people in other departments feel the weight of this responsibility? Will you ever have to decide if graduate students get their PhD or not? If associate professors make tenure? I don’t envy you that job.