My experience as a U-M student has definitely prepared me for my internship. Although there are countless numbers of opportunities at Michigan, because the university is so large, I have had to seek them out. I feel like this has been similar to my experience at the Clinical Psychology Unit. I have had the opportunity to work with many different PhDs and PhD students, however, these opportunities were made from networking and from introducing myself to my colleagues. This is a skill that I developed at Michigan and have strengthened at my internship. Additionally, my experience in the UROP program at Michigan gave me an excellent foundation for not only the basics in conducting research but also proper edict, for example, how to write a cover letter, how to find the right research project, how to follow-up after an interview, etc. These are skills that I needed to utilize in order to find the best research internship for my interests and personal goals.
I have used my liberal arts education in my internship to adapt to many different research projects with varying topics. Though all the projects I worked on were under the umbrella of clinical psychology, they varied from sexual abuse, to anxiety disorders to eating disorders and because of the wide variety of classes I have taken at Michigan from environment courses to history courses, I felt equipped to work on an array of projects simultaneously without feeling overwhelmed.
During my time at a children’s hospital one day a week, I was often surprised by the people I saw and heard in the hallways and by the research I was conducting. Working in the children’s psychiatric ward, specifically with eating disorders, I saw many children suffering from eating disorders, I was able to sit in on clinical meetings discussing the children and I was coding interviews with a clinician and patient regarding the eating disorder and the patient’s progress. Often times, my days at the hospital were quite depressing and I did not know how to deal with it. I remember my supervisor asking me if my time there had been affecting me negatively and I said no, because I was learning so much but emotionally I was having a difficult time. My supervisor told me that with time, I would be able to separate work life from home life and while I cannot say that I have perfected that over these past few months, I think that I have made a good start. I have learned the importance of processing emotions and then putting them aside and getting on with your day to day life, realizing the importance of your work and the impact it has on others. I think that this is a process that can only be mastered after many years, if ever.