In August, I will be beginning my Bachelor’s level year-long field experience. While at community college, I completed an Associate’s level semester-long internship at a foster care and adoption agency, and it was a wonderful experience to have prior to my BSW internship. Because of this, I now have a better idea of what I, as a student and social worker, would like to accomplish and achieve throughout my senior year practicum. I hope this will aid my fellow students as we all begin this intern journey together!
- Expand my professional and work-casual wardrobe, because it is LACKING and I am ill-prepared for getting on the floor to play with kids, and going to court hearings, all while looking normal and not too over-the-top.
- Be aware of textbook information and ACTUALLY practice it with clients and coworkers.
- Don’t be bitter about feedback – It is a learning experience meant for growth and knowledge expansion.
- Understand the specifics of the organization I am at, in terms of specific paperwork and policy, and perhaps make improvements if they need to be more inclusive of individuals.
- Grow in my knowledge of Spanish, and the terms most needed for social work in this geographical location.
- Understand and become adequate (or hopefully more than adequate) at conducting various trauma-therapy sessions and practices.
- Practice writing case notes, progress notes, etc. for clients, and get a format down that could potentially be translated into a form or template.
- Find a work-school-intern-life balance, and practice self-care on a daily basis, even if it is simply with small things (such as taking five minutes to journal or read a non-social work book).
- Understand the funding and policy of this and similar organizations, and how macro-level work influences daily practice.
- Learn how to quickly build rapport with children and adolescents of an older age. I say this because I have extensive experience with younger children, but tend to struggle building relationships and connecting with teenagers (particularly teenage girls funny enough, considering I am a female of only 20 years).
- Utilize weekly supervision for practical advice and encouragement in order to effectively and efficiently evolve as a social worker.
- Build professional connections with other social workers, as well as various professionals linked in the social welfare community, of whom are vitally important in the care and support of clients.
- Learn and attempt to separate myself from the work, and not take it home with me. Again, practice self-care so as to understand how to healthily avoid burnout and overwhelm.
- Have fun! This is a great experience, and one that you should not take lightly as it plays an important role in furthering your career and education. But don’t forget that your coworkers and clients are human, and it is OKAY to laugh, form meaningful relationships, and genuinely have a joyous time! After all, this is the social work field, and if you can’t laugh about a situation, you might cry.
Featured Image: http://satovconsultants.com/insights-of-an-intern/