Monday, July 28, 2014

Intern Advice From An Intern

As school gears up for us school counselors, graduate students will be gearing up for their internship experience.  Since I've been out of the intern scope for a couple of years, my intern from the last school year Kelly was so kind to share some tips based on her experience:

-Give a little background about yourself :
Hi, I'm Kelly and I just graduated May 2014 with a master's degree in Counselor Education from East Carolina University (Go Pirates).  I also completed my undergraduate degree in Sociology from ECU.  
Originally, I started my undergraduate studies in early education, but soon decided I wanted to focus more on individual or a small group, which lead me to sociology. One of my older volleyball teammates (I played on the volleyball team at ECU) was in the counselor education program also, and really got me interested in the field.  I went straight to graduate school after graduating from undergrad, and I have absolutely LOVED the program and am so in love with counseling!

-How did you manage graduate school and internship, without feeling completely overwhelmed?
Throughout the year, my supervisor was great about allowing me to set my own schedule or change days that I came to my internship site if there were grad school assignments that I really needed to work on. Setting a schedule was really nice for me in order to stick to days where I focused mostly on my internship, and others when I focused mainly on schoolwork. However, I know that many sites which my classmates were in, set a schedule for them to come to their sites. Many of my friends handled both their internship and schoolwork by dedicating certain days to their schoolwork similarly to me being able to create my own schedule. There were times when it was overwhelming to juggle both my internship and finishing my graduate school program, but the more I stuck to a set schedule and completed things weekly in a set manner, the more in control I felt and got through the semesters with ease!

-What's something that you learned about yourself you didn't know from your internship experience?
I was fortunate to complete both semesters of internship at the same great school, and I think I learned much more about myself being here all year then having to split semesters! I had no idea that I was going to like classroom lessons and small group settings as much as I have. I was pretty sure that individual counseling was my primary focus, so I started off my internship just wanting to talk to individual students more than leading groups or classes. However, I learned throughout the year that I am pretty good at classroom management and leading a group. Although it shocked me some, I have had so many awesome opportunities to lead by myself that I have become much more comfortable!

-What did you enjoy about your internship?
Joyner has been such an amazing school for my internship experience! I have truly felt so welcomed, and have enjoyed all of the staff appreciation events that we (as counselors) helped lead and display around the school. The nerves were definitely large at first, but after being treated like a part of the school, instead of just an intern, I was really able to excel and find out the type of school counselor I will be, and what I enjoy most/least about the position!

-What advice would you give to someone about to begin their school counseling internship?
My advice is to keep an open mind and be willing to try everything…even if it isn’t specific to the counseling position! I attended many workshops, conferences, and trainings which were offered by the district, my school, and counseling associations! I truly put the most into my internship experience to get the same in return and be prepared for my first year as a school counselor!
Thanks for sharing Kelly!  Are there any other tips former interns would like to share?
Good Luck!

Thanks for sharing Kelly!  Are there any other tips former or recent interns would like to share?
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