Words of Wisdom

Whether you are an incoming first year full time student or a second-year part time, adjusting to a new role and learning a new skill set may cause anxiety and uncertainty. Everyone has a unique experience and has the capacity to overcome any obstacles coming their way with resiliency. We understand how difficult this can be and are here to share our experience and give you some words of wisdom to offer you support.

1. Name: Ivan Bustamante

2. Placement: The LGBTQ Center in Long Beach

3. Population you are working with: LGBTQ Population

4. What you enjoy about your placement:

I’m enjoying working with the LGBTQ community as I am expanding my knowledge about this population and learning to be more culturally competent. It is also really exciting for me as I am a member of this community. As an aspiring therapist, I’m being exposed to different areas in mental health such as the types of mental disorders. I am also learning to leave my comfort zone as I am experiencing growing pains as an MSW intern. This placement is helping me develop professionally and is boosting my confidence as I am acquiring a new skill set. I’m receiving extensive training in documentation, therapy practice, case presentations, intakes, and have the opportunity to utilize my bilingual speaking skills.

5. Challenges faced while transitioning to 2nd year (schedule, work load, etc.) advice you would give 1st years?

Initially, transitioning from my first year to the second proved to be a difficult adjustment. Whether you are a full time or part time student, each year is different, and we can all relate when I say that it takes time to adjust. As a part timer who is working and commutes approximately 30 miles from home, I had to make significant changes to my schedule to accommodate my internship. I was working one job, taking 3 other classes and now I had to accommodate 16 hours a week for my internship. I was feeling overwhelmed, like I was constantly trying to catch my breath. I also questioned my capacity to do this type of work. This led me to feel low spirited and constantly feel tired. However, I took time for self-care as this field can be emotionally draining and you need to be kind to yourself. I learned that learning takes time and each week that passed, was an accomplishment for me and it wasn’t as overwhelming as I felt at the beginning.

6. Advice you would give to 1st year/Words of wisdom?

Be kind to yourself, learning takes time and as a student, you have that learning curve. Make sure you document everything, whether it’s attempts made to contact a client, reminders of things you must do, or tracking your hours. Manage your time and utilize it wisely, assignments pile up when you procrastinate. Remember, learning goes beyond the classroom and agency, do some research, and take initiative in your learning. It’s okay to make mistakes, it’s important to learn from them, no one walks into their first day of internship being an expert. Some learning experiences may make you feel uncomfortable, however, each week that passes, you only get better. When in doubt, reach out! Keep an open mind.

1. Name: Sade Owney

2. Placement: All Season Hospice Care

3. Population you are working with:

Elder, Aging, Terminally Ill, Death.

4. What you enjoy about your placement:

Imagine how hard it would be if you knew six months to a year that you were destined to die? What would you need/ want? Would you want to be surrounded by loved ones? Would you want to be comfortable? Since beginning this internship, for the first time ever these questions ran across my mind. Being young and healthy and never having a loved one experience this, this was an invisible population to me. Being able to provide people with comfort and support as they prepare for death is one of the most empowering things I could ever experience. At times, I am the only person who has visited them in months and just seeing them relax when I come in or seeing how grateful they are is the best thing to me. I have always been afraid of death, but what I appreciate most about my internship is the ability it has make me aware that death is a normal part of life and as humans we should work to accept and embrace it.

5. Challenges faced while transitioning to 2nd year (schedule, work load, etc.) advice you would give 1st years?

So this transition from 1st to 2nd year was the hardest thing for me personally. In the first year I had become used to working and having class; it became easy to juggle with my personal life as well. I was nervous to start my internship in my second year and was not sure how to prepare myself. Let me be honest, there is no point in trying to prepare yourself. The extra obligation added on to work (if you are working), class time and school assignments, and personal life (especially if you have families) will hit you hard. As a person who is a single mother and has a full-time job on top of everything else I was not prepared. I remember the first month was the worst I just could not get used to the new schedule, I was thrown off. I was always tired, and my days were jam packed. It is still an extremely hard transition, but I am trying to be patient until everything kind of smooths out for me.

6. Advice you would give to 1st year/Words of wisdom?

I can tell you what is working for me and will hopefully be helpful to you:

* Take one day at a time. Try not to think too far in advance, it causes anxiety and unnecessary stress. If you get through a full week of internship that is a huge accomplishment. if you turn in a research paper on time, that is a huge accomplishment. Celebrate your small victories.

* Do as much as you can in advance (e.g reading, papers, any other assignments).

*Do not allow your house chores to pile up.

* Buy two planners matter of fact three. One for school, one for internship and one just in case. Please be organized, that is the only thing that is getting me through so far.

* Get enough rest. You cannot work properly on an empty tank. Learn when to say I am tired and need a break.

* Laugh, smile, joke. Do not take things so seriously.

* Do not be scared to see a therapist. We all have stuff that we need to unload.

* Make time for your personal life. I mean it is true you will not have much of one, but try to do things you enjoy. There isn't that much homework in the world.

* Get some study buddies in the program. Make friends because these are the people that you will support and will support you for the next couple of years.

* Be open minded