From our first days at Bank Street, my cohort and I heard legendary tales of the magical and formidable IMP— and we started classes at the beginning of September so Halloween was still more than a month away, but hearing about the IMP so early on only added ominous intrigue.
We often took walks down a library corridor lined in green books faded with time— running our fingers along varying titles etched artfully onto the edge band. We’d look at each other eyes wide and whisper, “IMPs,”.
Of course— I may be embellishing the experience a bit.
As part of the requirements for graduation, I knew some form of a statement piece (such as the thesis for my undergraduate degree) would be something I’d have to undertake at some point during the culmination of my studies at Bank Street. in true Bank Street fashion, the version of this undertaking— the Integrated Master’s Project (IMP) — is definitely magical, not so much ominous.
My IMP is all about the puzzle of this graduate school journey I’ve embarked upon, which has turned out to be far more than academic and more a vehicle for helping to find myself as an educator, a woman of color and potential catalyst for change— pretty powerful stuff.
I didn’t expect the process of writing my portfolio for IMP to be emotional but it was. For me, a lot of the content I’ve explored and the assignments I’ve done as part of the program have definitely been emotional forays into social analysis. However, the feelings that writing my IMP evoked (and the impact it had on me) were different. The document has a magnitude about it— the depth of it’s meaning both in the analysis of your experience and in the knowledge that it is your final assignment for the college has a double effect that many times caused letters to blur on my computer screen from tears.
The IMP process allows you to once again reflect upon your learnings and experiences. You can create a sort of compendium of your walk through the Bank Street experience that tells your unique story. I’ve worked long hours on my IMP, and I struggled— I wrestled with personal philosophies, words, old traumas made new. It was like living Bank Street from the start all over again— from the first class to the last— I re-walked it all and put it on paper. My husband would often make me laugh sending me motivational memes of a famous scene in Rocky— the one where he’s doing his little victory moves at the top of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I hope my struggles meant that the writing process helped me grow— and let’s face it, growth and steps toward achieving goals are often not the easiest— but I feel nourished. Finishing the project feels like placing the point on an exclamation mark— the symbol wouldn’t be complete without it.
Generating my IMP was a challenge— and I hold on to the piece— with the fondest regard.