Saturday, April 18, 2009

What do I do?

It can be confusing to explain what I do being in a psych grad program. I have work, which is referred to as an "assistantship" with the college, so that I can get a paycheck, health insurance, tuition reimbursement. But the assistantship can be with any dept, even one not related to psych. And not only that, these days people aren't guaranteed the same job the entire time they're in the program, and sometimes people have to look for funding from one semester to the next. One year I was a desk assistant, another I was a research assistant. Another year I was teaching undergrads. I also have an internship where I get clinical experience, unpaid. But my program calls this a "fieldplacement." And before the fieldplacement we have a "practicum" that's at the counseling center on campus. And then we have a final year of pre-doc "internship" which is working full-time as a therapist before actually getting the degree. It's like the equivalent of a medical residency, except it happens before the degree is awarded. And of course we take our own classes, have research (thesis, dissertation)...it really *all* feels like work cuz the classes become less didactic and more research-focused. Like now, I'm done with all my actual classes, so I'll just be taking dissertation credits to keep my full-time student status so I can defer having to pay back loans. So moving forward the focus will be on dissertation, internship applications, and whatever type of assistantship I get.

So needless to say, having so many different hats to wear can make it confusing when explaining what I do to people, even people who I'm close to. It's like:

Person: "Hey, what's up."
Me: "Not much, just got back from work so I'm a bit tired."
Person: "I thought you're a student?"
Me: "I am, it's my assistantship."
Person: "What's that?"
Me: "My job at ASU so I can get tuition and a paycheck."
Person: "Oh. So how much do students get paid for doing therapy?"
Me: "Oh well, I don't do therapy for the assistantship. I'm doing some web management stuff."
Person: "Huh? How's that related to psychology?"
Me: Sigh...

Or here's another scenario:

Me: "I have so much homework for my class!"
Person: "I thought you're interning."
Me: "I am, but I'm also taking a class. The fieldplacement is just 3 credits."
Person: "What's a fieldplacment?"
Me: grumble grumble grumble. "The internship."
Person: "Why do you have to be out in the field for that, don't you see clients on campus?"
Me: ARGH....

Or yet another:

My assistantship supervisor: "So hows' it going, how are you progressing in your progam?
Me: "Well, if all goes well, I can apply for residency next year." (I say residency to her because she's not familiar with psych programs, and I assumed she'd understand it from an MD perspective)
Supervisor: "Oh, I thought you were a resident of the state because we pay your tuition at an in-state rate."
Me: GROOOOAAAAANNNNNN

This is all I'm gonna say from now on: (imagine this)

Me: I'm a crazy, helping other crazies, in a crazy system. (as I give the person the finger)
Person: Why are you flipping me off?
Me: I JUST said I'm crazy!!!!


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