Did Lead, Am Leading, Will Lead
I think that I’ve always categorized myself as a natural-born leader. Or maybe other people started calling me that, and I just went along with it. Despite this aspect of my personality, I don’t think I anticipated having many leadership opportunities coming into my summer internship. As an undergraduate research assistant, I am at the lowest position on the totem pole. Yet, because I’ve been working double the amount of weekly hours as most of the other research assistant, I have been given a few wonderful leadership opportunities that I did not expect to be offered. For example, for the past two weeks, I have been the primary Data Collector on most of the visits I have been going on for the past month or so. This means I am given more responsibility before, during, and after the visit. This role also means that I have been the primary point of contact for the youth and the parent participating in this study.
Through these opportunities, I am learning that being a bit paranoid or obsessive about details is a strength. I make ample use of checklists and reminders. I set alarms and keep in close contact with my supervisors as soon as anything outside of the normal comes up. I have also learned about the importance of clear and timely communication with the other data collectors I am working with. With experience comes opportunity, and with opportunity comes responsibility. It can feel draining to be in this position so often, but it is undoubtedly rewarding.
My favorite experience as an intern this summer has been being able to listen to so many people’s complex stories. I have found that some of the parents in particular appreciate the opportunity to be invited to share their opinions and experiences. I have observed that many of these parents lead very demanding and busy lives, often times centered around the lives of several children. When they are the given the time to sit down and share their thoughts with our data collection team, some parents have found it very enjoyable. And when they enjoy this time, so do I. I feel privileged to be given their trust and to hear their stories.
Influence on Future Plans
This internship has made me more critical of Clinical Psychology PhD programs and more interested in Counseling Psychology PhD programs. I have also become more interested in becoming a professor and researcher working in academia. It has solidified my interests in addressing health disparities for women and girls and studying the complex relationships between parents and children. Lastly, I also would love to continue working in community-based settings. In this way, I can continue to critically engage with Psychology as a method of promoting social justice.
Living in New York for the summer has been wonderful, yet I am ready to go back to Michigan. The city is huge. And although there are so many wonderful opportunities and corners to explore, I’m ready for a slower pace and the lakes to swim in. Summer just isn’t the same without them.