An Open Letter To My Fellow Students

*This blog post is written by a mentee of mine, Allison Zylka. I love watching my mentees all the way through the process of their journey, whether that be the application process or interviewing for a spot for either practicum or internship. The whole process can be very stressful and I absolutely love cheering my mentees on from the sidelines and providing encouragement where I can. Allison’s writing style is very much like mine – so if you enjoy my blogs, you won’t be disappointed by what she has to say and how she says it! Enjoy!*

Whether you are waiting to hear back from a practicum placement or an internship… this is your first round applying or your fourth… applied to three hospitals or applied to thirty… relived Planes, Trains, and Automobiles traveling to interviews or managed to arrange your work schedule around Skype interviews… this one is for you.

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Dear fellow student,

WE MADE IT! I don’t know about you, but this process started back in February for me. That is almost four months of work culminated in one day which just happens to be next week. When I seriously started looking into applying for internships, I was terrified. I had heard how competitive the process was. I felt inadequate and quite honestly, under qualified. It took me a lot of courage and vulnerability to make the decision to apply.

Once that decision was made, all my time that I wasn’t at work was filled with internship applications. Finding the necessary documents, requesting letters from references, packaging each hospitals’ manila envelope (being careful to not spill the ENTIRE CARTON OF ICE CREAM I ATE THE WEEK OF MARCH 15 ON THEM), and shipping the applications out.

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If you made it that far, you’re already a rock star. I moved abroad to China without speaking Mandarin and I will still say the most exhausting and challenging thing I have done so far in my life is apply to 16 internship programs.

So now what? What do we do during this time when the anticipation honestly feels suffocating?

The number one thing to keep in mind (no matter how hard it is) is to live in the present. Do your best to not beat yourself up about something you could have done or said differently. Now isn’t the time to wish you had edited your essay questions better or applied to more hospitals. It’s not the time to think about your phone interview and something you should have said or shouldn’t have said that might have altered the outcome. It’s also not the time to go through the hundreds of “what if…” scenarios.

“What if no one calls?”

“What if my number one choice calls on Thursday after I accept a different placement?”

“What am I going to tell people when they ask, and I have no placement?”

“What if I get my number one choice? How will I announce it on Facebook/Instagram and celebrate?”

“What if…. What if…. What if…?”

You can drive yourself crazy living in the past and the future. Regardless of the outcome, I say we start celebrating now.

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We are brave, vulnerable, dedicated, and focused… we made it here! All the days of working all day followed by applications all night, the fast food eaten since there wasn’t time or energy to cook, the money spent on copies, postage, and traveling was all worth it. For me, it proves that I can do this process. That means that IF I need to do it all again, I’ll be able to.

But let’s not dwell on that “What if” right?

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So now what…? What do we do for the next few days while we wait?

SELF CARE! 

If your schedule has been anything like mine, you have had to cut this “luxury” out because of a lack of time. You have more free time now! There is nothing that needs to be accomplished for child life. I know it can feel impossible to go from living, eating, and breathing the field to using your time for something else. But I don’t think I will survive the next few days any other way. So here is the list of what I plan to do between now and May 9th at 5 PM EST. Feel free to borrow some suggestions or make up your own list of things that make you feel happy.

  • start exercising again
  • get a massage
  • spend time with friends (and try not to talk about internships)
  • attend church
  • clean my poor room that has been ignored since March
  • diffuse some essential oils
  • enjoy the spring weather and take my dog for a walk
  • catch up on the TV shows i have had to put on hold

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When the week is said and done, and all the practicum and internship positions are filled… That is the time for you to respond accordingly. If you get a spot, celebrate big, you did it!! If you don’t, take the time to be bummed. While you’re bummed, do your best not to throw a never-ending pity party. Be proud that you applied and accomplished something hard. Remind yourself why you decided to apply for internships in the first place. Let your passion for the field motivate you to stand up, dust off, and keep going by pursuing whatever is next in your journey.

So, here we go! Heading in to “offer week” with our heads held high even if our knees are buckling.

We are rock stars and one day we will be rock stars with “CCLS” at the end of our names.

Best of luck,
Allison Zylka

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