Major: Applied Psychology (Minors: Business Administration & Sociology)
Company Interned For: Smithfield High School Guidance Counseling Department (I have also had 2 prior internships)
Hometown: Bronxville, New York
AC: What was your favorite aspect of your internship? How do you think this internship differed from working in a typical business like a store or services firm?
CR: My favorite aspect of my internship was working with the people, mostly students. I loved being a resource and helping anyone with any problems or concerns they had. This internship differs from a typical business scene because it is something I am interested in while pursuing my career as a professional counselor. It is also different because I was not working full time or for pay so I was able to enjoy my experiences and learn many useful skills I will take with me for the rest of my life.
AC: What were your day-to-day duties as an intern?
CR: Sometimes I did usual office duties such as assisting my supervisor with anything she needed. However, a good portion of my time was spent shadowing the guidance counselors and observing meetings between them and students, parents, or administrative staff members. Another good portion of my time was spent advising students with college planning as well as post-graduate planning. I became a resource for the students assisting them with personal challenges like academic struggles, family issues, financial difficulties, and peer-to-peer problems.
AC: What did you learn in your internship and what challenges did you overcome through these learning experiences?
CR: Even though I only worked one semester, I learned so much about the professional workplace but also about myself. Something very important I learned is that guidance counseling is a very essential department within a school. They organize many events and activities that benefit students and they are there to help students with a variety of issues school related and non-school related. I have learned a lot about the college process because I have worked with many of the students one-on-one to research schools, write essays, create resumes, and even fill out applications. I learned how to set up college visits and I even got to observe a few of them. I also learned about programs within the school like individual learning plans, alternative learning plans, the response to intervention program, infinite campus, PSATs, grant writing, and even the truancy system and I had the opportunity to observe a truancy court case.
About myself, I learned that I am a hard worker, I learn quickly, I am confident, I am empathetic, and I am a great listener. More importantly, I realized I love working with people and relate well to others which will help me in the future when I get a counseling job. Furthermore, something I learned while working in guidance counseling is that many students at the high school or even middle school age have a lot of issues in their life that truly shape how they are as a person. I never realized how many families were facing unfortunate situations and how many kids were being diagnosed with learning disabilities and psychological disorders. From this, I learned you must listen to every student carefully when they speak, have an open mind about what they say, and also be empathetic and understanding because every student is different in their own way.
Some challenges I faced was working in a new setting and working with high school students.
AC: How did you find this internship?
CR: I had met with Amica for advice about internships and my career plans. Their advice guided me to find my internsips. I found my internship at Smithfield High School while attending an internship panel during the spring of my junior year where I heard seniors speak about their internship experiences. I learned that one girl did this internship before me and she did not particularly enjoy it but I went for it anyway. I found my internship supervisor’s email, emailed her during the summer, and she immediately responded eager to let me start. We kept in touch throughout the summer and I started in September of my senior year.
AC: Which classes at Bryant would you say helped you to be a successful intern?
CR: Counseling Theory & Practice and Senior Internship Seminar Psychology class.
AC: What would be your advice to any undergraduate looking in your field of study?
CR: Start researching early to find your interests and get experience! Also, communicate with people (students, professors, advisors, professionals etc.) to get insight and learn about others’ opinions and their journeys, you never know what kind of connections you can make and what opportunities it can lead to. Have an open mind, be open to new experiences and ask a lot of questions because that is how you will learn. Most importantly, make sure to treat everyone with respect because people will be more likely to help you and listen to you if you are respectful to yourself and others. Finally, believe in yourself and aim for your dreams. Don’t ever be discouraged or let ANYONE tell you that you cannot do what you want to do or be who you want to be.