“My brain is like two supercomputers working together to process one million zillion signals.” –Anonymous Student
end of summer reflections
As I near the end of my internship with The Quad Manhattan, I am reflecting on my initial goals: To learn and implement new skills of my own; learn how to map a child’s progress and structure a case study; make connections with other students and professionals in my field; get a taste for the worlds of social work and school psychology; and learn how to properly support kids who are struggling.
Over these past two months, I have learned and implemented many strategies to help my students calm down and remain engaged throughout the day. In this sense, I definitely got to work with children in more of a psychological capacity. The case study, rather than being an academic paper as I’d expected, was an end of summer report geared toward the parents. I’m glad that I gained real-world experience communicating with parents and writing something that will help my students’ success in the coming year.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the opportunity to shadow occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists during their sessions with my students, which helped me observer how these services worked in practice. I gained further experience as an educator as well, leading a psycho-social lesson on turn-taking for my Core group. Overall, as an intern, I did more teamwork than I thought I’d do, especially with the online format. It was really helpful to have that support from my core team, and I feel like I made a lot of great connections with other students, educators, and therapists. I definitely got closer with my kids than I thought possible over Zoom and will be sad to leave them.
Working with The Quad Manhattan solidified my interest in social work and opened me up more to the possibility of working in a school. I would still like to do social work, but I am considering a school social work track, as I really enjoyed working with educators. This internship also pushed me more toward the idea of taking a gap year before getting my Master’s in Social Work (MSW). I learned that while taking classes is valuable, real-world experience is more fulfilling for me and just as important for someone in my field.
My takeaway is that if you’re going into counseling or social work, you don’t need to work in a lab at Harvard (unless you really want to); you need to gain real-world experience by interacting with your target population. You will never know what to expect until you meet the people you intend to serve. If you’re interested in being a Psychosocial Intern at The Quad Manhattan, don’t do anything else in addition to this internship. It’s a full-time job and you will need down time in order to give your students the support that they need. If you end up at The Quad Manhattan, be ready to adjust your students’ goals no matter how robust they seem, and remain open to suggestions from your peers.
I enjoyed so many aspects of my experience with The Quad Manhattan, but I’m proudest of what my students were able to accomplish this summer and the role I played in helping them. My hope is that my work will leave a lasting positive impact on their well-being, and that I can continue to help others in similar ways.