I got some exciting news yesterday. My field coordinator sent me an email with my options for senior field placement! As I briefly mentioned in my last post, my junior field placement is going to be hard to beat, because it was so incredibly awesome (more on that later, I promise). However, I have to admit that at least two of my options are quite intriguing.
My first option, Agency A, works with current and ex-offenders from the correctional system to secure employment and other resources. I would also be given the opportunity to do some group work with adolescent girls on probation. My field coordinator wrote: “The challenge for you in this placement maybe (sic) working with a significant African American male offender population given the events having transpired in your family with the loss of your sister.” Apparently my field coordinator took my junior placement supervisor very seriously when she said he’d better find me an appropriately challenging senior field placement or she’d snatch me back up, because it “would be a crime to ruin a fantastic social worker with such incredible innate abilities by sending her somewhere boring.”
After expressing his concern over the challenges this opportunity could offer, my field instructor wrote, “I want to find an internship that would challenge you as you are among my exceptional students and I do not want you to be bored.” Good. Very good. I don’t want to be bored. I don’t do well with bored. *PUTTING BRAGGART HAT ON* I always suspected I was an exceptional student, but I don’t know that I’d ever grow tired of actually hearing it! ;-) *TAKING BRAGGART HAT OFF*
I have some reservations, the least of which is working with “a significant African American male offender population.” Granted, that is a valid concern given that I did have some post-traumatic stress type reactions to African American males in the 16-25 age range within the year or so after my sister’s death. However, I believe I’ve worked past that. During my junior internship, I did a lot of home visits, some of which involved spending time in the homes of some men meeting this description. Though I was there primarily to focus on their children, I had no issues with being in the homes of these men or near them. I take that as a good sign.
My reservations are with the fact that this is a new agency that my field instructor just recently recruited, meaning he truly has no idea what a social work intern will do there beyond what he’s been told by the staff. I interviewed at an agency for junior field placement where what they’d told the instructor I would do was very far away from what they told me I would do, and what they told me I would do was very very far away from what actual interns placed there did. NO students EVER should’ve been placed there given what I reported back to my supervisor regarding my interview, but he didn’t believe me or didn’t want to listen. Thus, they ended up with three students very bitter that they didn’t get to do any social work at all in their junior social work internships. Needless to say, that left me with a lack of confidence in my field instructor.
That said, I will schedule the interview and will follow my gut. I’m excited to learn more about this opportunity.
The second agency, Agency B, I haven’t been able to find out much about. They’re a community mental health organization that offers recovery-oriented services to help individuals with serious mental illness live successfully in their communities. I am eager to go to this interview to get more details about the position and the agency. Mental health is the alley I want to go down, which is why I want to complete my master’s degree, so this could be a great opportunity.
The third agency, Agency C, conducts forensic interviews of children who have reported sexual abuse, witnessed violent crime, or who may have otherwise been victimized. My role as an intern would be providing crisis intervention, support, and other direct services to clients and their families. This opportunity sounds intense, but “crisis intervention” sets off red flags as that’s what I did in my previous internship. My goals for field placement are to be challenged and to learn something new, and crisis intervention isn’t new or challenging at this point. I won’t rule it out yet. I look forward to getting all the details at the interview and using that information to help with my final decision.
Of course, I don’t get to make the final decision. My field instructor does. He’ll listen to what I have to say when I give my thoughts on each interview, and he’ll use that to guide his decision, but he has the ultimate say. This is a very exciting and nerve wracking time! Internships need to be finalized and in place by the end of August so we can start the first week of September. I’ll fill you in on interviews and the decision making process as I go, lovely reader!
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