As you may know, I am currently beginning the second year of graduate school. In my program, we have clients through our university’s clinic for the first year. Then, we get assigned to an adult & child externship (one each semester in the second year). This past week, I started my first externship…. with adults.
I am a kid person, through and through. I love difficult kids, easy kids, funny kids, serious kids. I love language kids, artic kids, kids with autism, fluency kids. I love them all.
To be fair, before this externship, I had only had one adult client before, in our university’s clinic. He was awesome and turned into my Virginia grandpa. He made me laugh and he made significant progress throughout our semester together.
So the night before I had to begin my externship, I was semi-optimistic. I had been assigned to a very nice facility where I would get experience in rehab, skilled nursing, assisted living, and memory care – all at one site!
To sum it up quickly, the first day was rough. I was shown around the facility for most of the day. Honestly, for me, walking around the facility on the first day was the worst moment thus far. We spent much of the day in the memory care unit: constant alarms, people crying, people trying to escape, people looking for their deceased loved ones, the smells, the sights… It was almost too much.
But, the next day came and went. When I left, I thought to myself, “I think I could do this for a job”.
The third day came and went. When I left, I thought, “Ugh. Growing up sucks.”
And then the fourth day came and went. I thought, “Is it weird that I actually kind of enjoyed today?!”
So overall, I’m learning a lot (read my lessons below). I have some clients that make me depressed. I have some clients that are hilarious. I have clients that I want to adopt as grandparents. Next week, I plan to help a 94 year old woman make a Facebook to keep up with her grandchildren. Does it get any more awesome than that!?
Surprisingly, I like the adult setting more than I thought I would. There are still moments every day that I just want to leave or take 10 minutes to myself, but I guess that is to be expected!
After week one, here is what I have gathered:
1) When you ask your classmates how their externship is going, you will either get, “I love it!” or “I’m learning a lot.”, the latter of which is not a good thing.
2) Scrubs are a wonderful thing.
3) The university’s clinic is NOT REAL LIFE. In real life, you have difficult coworkers, limited supplies, no lunch break, and no privacy (aka you might share a small room with PT & OT).
4) Not every setting or placement will be a perfect fit for you.
5) A good attitude and a good work ethic will get you a long way.
6) Connecting with your clients, whether they will forget you in an hour, is one of the most important aspects of the job. That doesn’t change for ANY setting.
7) And last, dementia makes me sad.
What do you remember from your externships?