Internship applications?… WHAT ARE THOSE?!

Internship applications?


Dissertation proposal?




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.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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:
    1. It is the final year of my graduate training (as long as I match, but more on that later…)
    2. It is almost completely focused on advanced clinical training (e.g., working directly with clients)
    3. 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.
    4. It IS paid (hallelujah).
    5. It entails an extremely extensive application, interview, and structured matching process (more on that later…)
    6. 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!


Keep grindin!



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