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Horrible truths of a Masters degree.

CAUTION: I am writing this so late as i have just gotten off of work, am worn out, tired, and overall in poor shape. Ergo, I am writing this because of these exact same reasons.

First of all, I love my Masters program. Seriously, love it. But the next person that tells me the Masters program isn’t hard,  other students have managed the feat with no real issues, or something along that line, I will stare you in the eye and call bulls…let’s go with just bull.

The only way a grad student can take time to breeze through classes and not worry about finances is A: Living solely off of some ridiculous financial aid or B: Have wealthy and generous parents. Let’s put this in perspective, for most of my grad career I have been working 40-50 hours a week for a community mental health agency. What a God sent miracle. I was able to take 9 credit hours of coursework each semester (full time is considered 6 hours or more fyi) and flex my schedule as long as I met client hours.

Yet at this point in time, I am in the final stretches of the program and am trying to complete my practicum/internship hours. Internship 1+2 need a total of 600 hours to pass. In the time span of 6 months, doesn’t sound to bad right? That’s only of your clients actually show up. Any clinician in any field can attest we humans sometimes suck at making appointments. Guilty right here. So if like my case, only half show up on a regular basis, you need 1200 clinic hours to be safe. Aka a full time job.

Where am I going with this? Hell at this time of night I’m not to clear myself except this sucks. Best way to describe it is to lay out my schedule for ya’ll:
Sunday: 9a wake up, 1115a-1p church, 2/3p-11p Valet job.
Monday: 5a wake up, 6a-2p Valet job, drive to CC, 530p-9p Garcia Center clinic (GCC)
Tuesday-Thursday: 9a wake up, 11a-8p Counseling and Training Clinic (CTC), 8p-3a Bar job
Friday: 530p-9p GCC
Saturday: 9a-1p Internship class, drive to SA, 3p-11p Valet job.

See the problem? No rest for the frigging wicked. But wait, what about Friday? That looks slow. Errrrrrr! That’s time to write pending papers, case studies, journal reviews, and other professional development material assigned to us.

With all of this, there’s no way I am making enough money to cover my school and cost of living. The only jobs that will accommodate my weird hours of availability are minimum wage jobs like bars and restaurants. Not a way to make not just a living but just stay afloat. Hell, I just had to stop by a coinstar to cash in my change so I would have enough money to cover my bills. Thank God for tips otherwise I would not have money after tomorrow night for gas to get me home to SA.

So to tie my sleep-deprived, delusional rant up, I’m apparently a suckered for punishment, am slowly dying from no rest, and want to punch something… I guess. I don’t know. I can’t think straight to save my life right now. Time to shower, rinse and repeat for tomorrow. Lord have mercy on this weary soul…

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Burnout, Mental Health, Personal, School

 

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Ok seriously, gotta get back.

Ok I’m serious  About keeping more up to date on this blog. This is in part because I need to do a journal weekly for one of my classes I’m currently in but I thought, why not just do them all together?

So first my class. Today we discussed assessments and how we can apply them for different applications. Honestly my initial thoughts about assessments were not so great. I’ve done it before while working with the community mental health clinic, but I always felt so lost when walking through the fields of acronyms and revisions and numbers. But after our professor and TA discussed mental status exam and the different types of assessments they utilize for different situations, such as DARS or DDS, I felt more confident about being able to use these different assessments. I really don’t know, I feel better prepared for my future graduation and for the possible assessments I need to do when I start practicing on my own.

Speaking of practicing, what’s really cool right now is that a way I am practicing while working on my masters. I’m currently working on my internship hours which involves me being at the school’s training clinic providing services for clients. This is so much cooler and more what I’m looking to get out of my degree in terms of seeing people compare to working as a case manager at Coastal Plains Community Center. I do miss working there but being able to apply everything that I’m learning in so much greater freedom takes the cake. This is great for me cuz I can actually pursue my interests in solution focused therapy and narrative therapy while exploring new things I stumble across. I have recently found a relatively new theory for me called focusing therapy. Essentially what this therapy is goal is two have a client um be in touch with themselves, explore their emotions and feelings about a certain situation, and then just followed that feeling focus on it for a long time and then discuss it with the therapist. Things like, did the feeling change? Did the feeling take a different direction? What was it like just observing this emotion? And so on to get a better understanding about their cognitive abilities.

What I really need to keep an eye on though is burnout. After taking my stress management class in the spring semester, I’ve gotten back into reading up and just keep an eye on managing burnout. Not just with me, but just how to deal with it since I have been hit really hard before. Ohoo the joy! Being able to discuss these things these topics and ideas with other clinicians not just my classmates but doctoral students and even with Dr Castillo.

One final thing. I think I kind of messed myself up with my choices of part time jobs while focusing on my internship hours. I say this is because I now work as a doorman at a bar & a hotel valet driver. In both of these jobs I need to remember people, such as regular clients or regular people to the bar, all while trying to remember my client caseload information. So far ive done OK, what I really need to watch my burn out to make sure that I don’t lose my mind.

And actually on that note, I should probably be getting some sleep so that I’m well rested and therefore better prepared to push off the possible oncoming effects of burnout.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2014 in Burnout, CNEP 5375, Personal, School

 

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