Okay, you get it. It’s a scary time for me. But let’s get down to it!
What is internship anyway??
Well, the answer’s a bit more complicated than you would think but my typical clinical psychologist answer still applies – “IT DEPENDS!”
The term “internship” is used to describe a lot of different things. Broadly, an “intern” is a trainee, or someone working to get more experience.
- Internship can mean doing unpaid work for a company/facility in order to get your foot in the door there or gain experience in a particular field. (This can be done in high school, college, or really anytime).
- Internship can also mean doing paid work for the same purposes. Often when I hear college students seeking internships, this is what they are talking about – getting hired at an entry rate in order to gain experiences which may translate later into a job.
- Clinical Psychology Pre-Doctoral Internship: Now that I have defined the two versions above, I don’t understand why the FINAL stage (well… not really final, but we’ll save that for another day) of doctoral training in Clinical Psychology is called an internship… (Now I understand why my family and friends seem so confused as to why I am applying to internship positions when I am supposed to be finishing graduate school… *insert face slap emoji here*)REGARDLESS, it is called that. And here is what this internship means for me:
- It is the final year of my graduate training (as long as I match, but more on that later…)
- It is almost completely focused on advanced clinical training (e.g., working directly with clients)
- It will occur in a completely different facility with completely different faculty/advisors and likely in a completely different city and state than my current grad school location.
- It IS paid (hallelujah).
- It entails an extremely extensive application, interview, and structured matching process (more on that later…)
- It is my final milestone to meet before I am awarded my Ph.D.
So why is this done in clinical psychology? Well, many of you are likely a little more familiar with medical school. You know how med students attend a residency at a hospital near the end of their training? This is our residency (again, I don’t know why we didn’t just use that less-confusing terminology). This process basically allows new, certified, less-familiar-with-me professionals to see me doing clinical work, help me gain skills in the areas I am weakest, and vouch that I am ready and qualified enough to go out in the world and practice!
What else is important to know? I’m starting this process SOON. Like, kind of starting it all now – browsing sites, clarifying my goals and training needs, starting application materials, alllllllll while trying to propose my dissertation on time, publish a few manuscripts, finish up incomplete coursework, and try to get a full night of sleep most nights WITHOUT LOSING MY SANITY.
After all, the way this all works is: I need to propose my dissertation in order to apply to internship. If this doesn’t happen, I don’t get to apply and thus, one more year in the grad school grind and plan to apply next year. If I SUCCEED and propose my dissertation!! and apply to internship!!… there’s still a chance I could fail to match for an internship site…. and then I’d stay another year in PhD-less land….
Apply to grad school, they said… it will be fun, they said…
Mostly jokes – I’m pretty sure I can do this. See you all soon for more updates on the grad school grind! Thanks for visiting and be sure to leave a comment. I’d love to hear who is reading this chaotic chronicle and also love to answer any questions!