This summer, thanks to the Judith Cossin Berkman ‘59 Endowed Internship Fund in Social Work and the Hiatt Career Center at Brandeis, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to San Francisco and intern with Homeless Prenatal Program. I had dreamed of working with HPP for over a year, and the WOW program made that possible for me. Now that I have been back in Waltham for a week and have started classes, I have had time to reflect on my experience at HPP, so I can share that with all of you.
Before I began my internship, I established three goals for the summer. Upon reflection, I realized I did not spend much time working toward my academic goal of developing a research question for a senior thesis, though I was able to explore concepts I learned about in school through direct experience. Because my internship was focused on gaining professional experience, meeting my career exploration and skill development goals felt natural. I worked closely with the staff at HPP to provide both direct and indirect social work services. Working daily with the staff and clients at HPP strengthened my interpersonal skills and improved my professional abilities to support a diverse range of clients. After three months at HPP, I feel confident in my plan to pursue a career in social work and prepared to apply to MSW programs this year.
The most fulfilling thing about my internship was working closely with the DV Advocate team and developing strong relationships with my coworkers and supervisor. Joining a team that has been together for a long time and already has a particular dynamic can sometimes feel disruptive and awkward, but the DV team absorbed me quickly and began to feel like a (highly productive) family. Unbeknownst to me when I applied for the internship, I came into the team during a crucial time of transition. Emotions were high, as were workloads, so it was clear that my role on the team would be primarily supportive. I enjoyed the level of responsibility the gave me when assigning me tasks., and I felt especially proud of my ability to effectively organize the files during the transition. One of my favorite things about working with the DV team was our ability to have a good time even when stress levels were high by taking trips to the movies and playing games during lunch.
As August ended, so did the DV CalWORKs program, into which I poured my energy this summer. While two of the team members will remain at Homeless Prenatal after the DV CalWORKs program ends, the other two will be moving on to new opportunities, as am I, and as will the other intern. Endings are always sad, and I will miss these people dearly. I am incredibly thankful to have spent the summer working alongside them.