Updated: Jan 29
Many of us spend years acquiring the necessary information for a career to prepare for the moment we can step into our desired field. But before you can begin working, you must endure the internship experience. Beginning an internship can elicit a range of different emotions from fear and worry to pure joy and excitement! The first couple of weeks, you are eased into things, learning all the necessary policies and procedures. “Not too bad” you think to yourself. Then the unexpected happens and you suddenly find yourself having to put those skills learned, to the test. “Am I trained enough?” “Am I doing this right?” “Is this the right path for me?”
In my experience thus far, along with conversations with other peers in their internship experience, uncertainty and doubt seems to be a part of the internship experience. There’s uncertainty on your skills, work life balance and even if you are on the right career path. While acquiring information is one thing, application of knowledge and skills gained is a different domain.
Beginning at HIR Wellness Center, I found myself asking similar questions- Am I equipped for this profession, Is this truly the profession for me. I’ve spent years in school acquiring the necessary skills and information to prepare me, so one would think I would have some confidence in my abilities. Wrong! One thing that I realized is that experience speaks volume. Coming into my internship here at HIR, I had no clinical experience only nonformal experience – leading summer camp groups, retreat groups etc. During the beginning stages of my time here at HIR, self-doubt was at the forefront of my mind. I constantly found myself overthinking and hesitant in how to approach working with clients, community members and even my supervisors/colleagues. I was so focused on doing things the “right” way and “by the books” that I did not realize that this was keeping me from utilizing the skills that I learned in a more natural and authentic way.
The truth is, as interns we all have the necessary skills to be effective therapist, community workers and healers. The first half of my internship experience has been catered to getting a better understanding of my role as therapist, building rapport with client/guests along with colleagues and supervisors, building the foundation for how I conceptualize working with clients/guests, and learning to trust my skillset. The stage that I am currently in is professional development -case conceptualization, collaborating, and taking on leadership roles. What helped to get me to this current point was the help and support of peers, family members, colleagues, advisors and lastly supervisors. It was important for my growth to be transparent in the way that I was feeling which allowed my support system to connect with me and challenge me in a way that helped reassure that I am skilled and that I am the expert, in a very humbling way.
Imposter syndrome, unfortunately, is inevitable and a part of the experience of being an intern or starting any new experience for that matter. While no two experiences are the same, know that there have been individuals before you that have endured the rigors of the intern process and have come out wiser and more confident in themselves. Know that you have the necessary skills, and the necessary support behind you. You will come in with tons of questions, fears, doubts, anxiousness, nervousness, excitement, joy and happiness. Don’t ignore those feelings, feel through them, acknowledge them, talk through them and know that you are where you need to be right now and that it’s all a part of your journey.