Two weeks until I officially have my Master’s Degree in Professional Clinical Counseling. Two weeks until I quit my part time food service job. Two weeks until I get paid to be an outpatient therapist, my dream of the last decade. I’m finished with schoolwork, I can’t finish internship work until a weekday when offices are opened, and everyone is out of the house. I sincerely love this afternoon. I’m sitting in my clean bedroom (clean for the first time in about four straight months) in comfy clothes, it’s kind of overcast, my iTunes is playing some new age ambient music, and I’m actually relaxing. For the first time in the past year, I’m starting to breathe without feeling weight on my chest.
This summer has been like a pendulum for my stress levels. I started the summer in a fury, having just written my Oral Comps essay and preparing to defend in June. The actual defense went, in my opinion, quite poorly – my anxiety about situations in which I’m being judged that way was so high, I really thought I might pass out walking into the room. My interviewers asked some strange questions that I didn’t expect, such as “when did I become an optimist? Did the program create that in me?” (To which I had to bite back a huge “HELL NO”) I also realized during the interview that they had been expecting a far more detailed application of theory, rather than a brief explanation and more focus on techniques. I was partially relieved to receive a provisional pass, pending that I could rewrite the theory section. Considering that I was terrified of the oral defense, I was just happy to not have outright failed. Of course, that meant an additional three weeks of stress surrounding the rereading of my CBT book, the rewrite of my case conceptualization, and then waiting to find out if it had been acceptable.
It was. I passed – and they said my rewrite was excellent.
My summer class is Career Counseling with my favorite professor. She was my first professor in this program, so I think it’s fitting that she’s also my last. I enjoy her lectures and she’s historically a forgiving grader, so I was looking forward to this class. But even knowing that about her, I was still absolutely petrified at completing my group presentation on career counseling for adolescents. I mean, it was easily one of my worst presentations. I’m cringing now just writing about it. Although thankfully, because my professor is fantastic and the rest of my group is competent at presenting, we got an A anyway.
My seminar class is also with a favorite professor, and as it’s my fourth semester in this seminar, I’m actually friendly with others in the class which makes it that much more enjoyable.
One of the sadder parts of the summer is discharging so many of my clients. Most of them are being discharged due to stupid reasons such as DHS shutting down their programs, or being sent back to families of origin, or living in placements that aren’t committed to bringing them to me. Some of the kids will be fine out there, some of them could stand to have more support. One in particular was one of my most favorite clients whom I sincerely loved working with. I’m still extremely bitter about the circumstances of her discharge, because it was not by choice for either of us. However, I’m glad that my agency was able to offer an in-home service as a transitional support, because it means I don’t have to worry so much about this client being out there alone. Now I just have to cope with how much I miss her.
Also making this summer hard, is my fluctuating weight. On a biweekly basis, I go to extremes – feeling heavy and hungry, to feeling nearly lithe and content. My vow to myself is that, once I quit my part time job and have actual time in the mornings, I will return to my gym regime and commit myself to Special K once more.
Not sure yet what my hours for the fall will be. I’m offering full availability to my agency (save for some evenings and weekends, as I’m not quitting colorguard!) because technically I’m fee-for-service. I’m able to take on individuals and families, and do evaluations and assessments, as well as being paid to handle the referral calls for the developmental evaluations. I suppose I’ll figure it out more in August as I transition to being a paid clinician. Hopefully the next step is to move out of my parent’s house!