Having so many doors being slammed in my face one after the other hurts. I don’t like not being good at things or not being good enough for things. I’ve always been good at school. I’ve always been a leader. I’ve always stood out from the crowd, worked hard, and got everything that I wanted and deserved but right now I’m not doing any of these things, at least not where graduate school is concerned. And I feel terrible!
Despite growing more and more certain by the day – hell, minute – that I want to change master’s programs to the thesis track, I still went on a couple of interviews for internships in the past month for the clinical track that I’m currently on. I really should have put in a lot more applications and gone on a lot more interviews but I didn’t, much to the chagrin of the clinical director of my program. I kind of convinced myself that if this was meant to be, I’d get accepted by one of the two places at which I’d interviewed. If I got a placement I’d stay in my current program, if I didn’t then that was my sign to make the change. I was hoping and praying that something would come through because I guess I’m still not fully comfortable with quitting something this big. As of this past Wednesday, I got my answer: I’m making the switch.
While it would be extremely easy to feel like a failure – because this is yet another instance in a long line of letdowns as of late – I find solace in the fact that I didn’t actually fail. But wait, you didn’t get either of the internships! I know, however for me to consider this a failure, I would’ve needed to have given my all, put my very best foot forward, and believed that I was the best fit for what these agencies were looking for and they’d be making a mistake not to hire me; but I didn’t. For both interviews, I made the minimal effort to prepare, I didn’t stress myself out about trying to appear perfect, and nail every question. I even ran into one of my classmates as she was leaving her interview and said in my head,
She’d be so good for this position! I want her to get this position. I’d be to happy for her to land this; she’s exactly what they’re looking for.
I knew these people didn’t want me as an intern and I knew I didn’t want to be their intern; that’d be a disservice to the very real and necessary work that they do to treat individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse issues.
See, that same voice in my head has been telling me for a long time now that I really didn’t want to go this route. At first, it looked simple enough. It looked doable. I convinced myself that while I may not be the best counselor I could do this job. Except as time went by I saw more and more reasons why I should rethink my decision. I even convinced myself that I could just get this degree now and then after I graduate, do something else. Possibly something still in the mental health field but not full-time counseling, I wouldn’t even worry about getting licensed. The same small voice kept trying to steer my attention to the research side of the mental health field. Despite my lifelong love/hate relationship with writing, I think that writing a thesis and conducting research would be something I would enjoy and do well at. A master’s in psychology would allow me to complete a thesis and open a lot of doors for me career-wise, and I love having options! (I also wouldn’t feel the guilt of playing counselor with real people’s lives; NOT OKAY.)
So what is the point I’m trying to make here? Eh, I’m not entirely sure. I guess all of this taught me to redefine failure. I’ve been trying so hard to shake the feeling that I failed at getting an internship because I wasn’t good enough when, in all honesty, I failed because I didn’t give a rat’s ass about giving it my best or having a good outcome. I was just going through the motions. Going from so many successes in my past to the “failures” of my present is difficult. The sting is there regardless but this has been a big painful lesson in following your heart and going where you’re led. I just hate how I have to keep teaching myself such time-consuming and expensive lessons…
Hope this helps somebody!