Hello MSPP readers and bloggers alike! My name is Ashley, and I'm happy to be joining the fabulous team of writers here on MSPP Student Voices! I'm here until I graduate next June, so let me tell you a little about myself, so we can be properly introduced!
I'm a 2nd year student in the Counseling Psychology program, which I've adored since day 1. MSPP was my first choice coming out of Undergrad, where I did my studying at Endicott College, which is a beautiful campus up on the north shore in Beverly. I received my BS in Psychology, and I guess you could say my love for this field really grew there, and I've fostered it into my passion here at MSPP. I have not regretted this decision at all.
I live on the south coast in Plymouth where I was born and raised. The drive up to MSPP every Tuesday can be taxing, but I guess we all feel that once in a while! (I have to say, my wallet has suffered a tremendous hit from the amount of gas I've been feeding it since I entered this program. Anyone else feel the same? For all you prospective students, don't forget to set aside some funds for gas!)
My MSPP experience has been amazing since classes first started for me last September. I was stuck by how warm, caring, and engaged the faculty and staff were. I'm still amazed by this going into the last semester of my 2nd year. The passion the professors have for this field literally vibrates from the walls. It has enriched my learning experience, as each professor is a model of what I'd like to be as I learn and grow as a counselor. I know my peers in my class feel the same; we may connect to different faculty members, but our awe and desire to improve remain the same.
My internship experience has been similarly good. Last year I worked at Seven Hills Behavioral Health in New Bedford, and while that wasn't the best site fit for me, I met a lot of amazing clients and people who I frequently think about. It may be hard to stay positive in the moment, especially working for free at internship while you have classwork, tests, papers, jobs, family, friends, intimate partners, car trouble, pets, etc etc etc. to think about, but at the end of the day, that one interaction you had with that one client that made you smile can be the most enriching thing. It'll help you come back the next day, and when you're done in May, it'll help you remember the site fondly.
This year, I'm a counselor at a residential school in Middleboro, the F. L. Chamberlain School. One year ago I wouldn't have believed that I would be working with adolescents and enjoying it. So here is my first piece of advice for newcomers: try what scares you. Working with adults has always been something that I've been good at, and I have had a strong (strong) aversion to working with anyone younger than me for a very long time. I have surprised myself at Chamberlain. I found a part of me that enjoys working with adolescents, relating to them because I have been in a similar place of anxiety and angst before. Honestly, I decided to choose Chamberlain as my site because it's close to my house (therefore, less gas). Now, when I think about it, I couldn't have decided on a better location. I'm going to have a hard time leaving, because I've started building rapport and relationships with clients that are different from ones I make with adults. I wouldn't have known it until I tried it, but working with adolescents is something I could see myself doing in the future. Now I know because I tried something I didn't want to, something that made me nervous and gave me anxiety. I could not stress this enough! Internships are a place to learn and grow as a person and a therapist. Take any chance you can get!
Another thing I can tell you about myself is that I work at Pembroke Psychiatric Hospital as my job (outside of MSPP). You'll probably read something about "The hospital" or "my patients" (opposed to "clients") on here once in a while. Maybe you'll read a few good stories about interesting happenings on my unit. Or you'll just read me griping about how I have work 3-11pm and seven papers and internship work and that I'm generally feeling a bit nutty. But that's par for the course, right? Yay Grad School!
Now that we've been introduced, it's time for me to head out. It's past my bedtime (HAH), and I have internship at 9am (then hospital work 3-11!). I'm sure you'll hear all about my work weekend next week. Until next time!