#2 Battling Obstacles

During my internship I found that I wasn’t given very clear directions on what to do on any given day.

If I didn’t have field work I was left to my own devices within the office that I was working. From my past experience, working in a lab at my college, I was able to clearly define what was needed in this position. I was told what needed to be done and given the materials to fulfill these goals. When there wasn’t anything to do I was told to stay home and work on my own projects.

I was used to direction and leadership. Here I became my own leader/boss and relied on what I had already experienced. This internship has a requirement of days, 50 to be exact. You must complete 50 days of in office work to qualify for the completion of the internship. The problem was, I was competing with twenty other interns for projects or field work and if I wasn’t chosen I would have to figure out another way to consume my time. I started off lost unsure what to do in an office that wasn’t mine surrounded by people I didn’t know and felt uncomfortable engaging. Eventually I had to put myself out there and figure out what to do on my own, no one was going to hand me my experience on a silver platter. I began to work on literature reviews, looking into questions that interested me so that at our monthly meetings I would have something to contribute. I began asking my more experienced coworkers what they did when they were in my shoes, breaking out of my cage of looking dumb by asking for help. I made phone calls to the participants and arranged for a future visits and practiced my recruiting skills.

The Obstacle that I overcame was to realize that in any given position within the company that I would be working, the leadership, organization & personalities that I was used to, can be radically different. That I would need to rely on my own experience, skills and knowledge to create an experience that can further my knowledge. This not only help me realize my own potential but to gain strength and confidence with my abilities.

Danielle Harrison

I am a senior studying Psychology with a double minor in Crime and Justice and PiTE. I am completing an internship as a Research Assistant with Columbia University in the Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group.

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