“I worked for so many years, and I just wanted to do something different. They call this ‘midlife crisis.’ But I call it ‘midlife advantage.’ ”
“My experience with SMC really spans the generations,” says the Renaissance man disguised as Dickson McMurray. “My father was a student here, and later came back to teach acting and theatre arts. Now I’m back here again myself, and my daughter’s here as well, looking for what she really wants to do.” And for Dickson, SMC is opening the path for what may be his true passion: psychology.
“I’m keenly interested in people, and some of the most fascinating people I’ve met have been psychologists. And my teachers in this subject have been wonderful. They could easily be doing clinical work, but here they are in the classroom, passing along their insights and experience to students. I think they love what they’re doing.” And so does Dickson, who labored away in the movies for years. “I see myself in 10 years working with disenfranchised people; the homeless and at-risk youth. I used to work in domestic violence counseling, as well. And even now, I work with children, using my art skills. I work with at-risk and abused kids, and we create things together. They don’t have the vocabulary to express the fears they’ve had to confront at such an early age. So their emotions come out in their use of crayons, colors, and the way they sculpt things. So the Arts really give them another ‘language’ to express themselves.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever be working in a small, clinical office,” says Dickson. “I see myself coming out to places where people without options are really in need of my abilities.” And he reports an even further broadening of his repertoire of skills by resurrecting some old flames of his. “I’m now in a woodwind ensemble, where I play flute at the SMC Performing Arts Center. And that’s a former hobby that I put on the shelf for many years. It’s all about harmony with others, and reconnecting with something from my past that I just truly love. Music.”