I was surprised hearing about the LINK internship freshman year. I expected it to be like the internship with Mountain Middle School but boy, was I wrong. This internship has left me with only one question: How can I ever put this experience into words? True it, I can't. The anticipation of walking in on the first day, the amount of knowledge you gain within the first week, all the way to the frustration you feel for not understanding stuff, and the always present office drama cannot be summed up into a simple final reflection. Although, I will say the most cliche description of this internship was true, I will carry this into my future. Learning statistics, data organization, interviewing in a professional manner, working through a problem, repetition of work in general, being professional, and even being treated like an adult are just some of the vital part of moving into a working world. By far the best part about my internship was my mentor and how enthusiastic about research she was. No matter how down I was about the repetition of our work, she would always find a way to keep my engaged and on my toes. I feel so fortunate to go to a school where this is not offered, but required to participate. This internship has done nothing but help confirm my plans for a future in psychology. I had a lot of fun doing anything involved in the field but what really confirmed it were my interviews with a clinical family therapist and a normal clinical therapist at Open Sky.
Week two was a success! I did a lot of the same stuff I did the first week but this week I learned a lot more statistics and organizing data. This is to help me write my final paper because i need graphs or sets of data to help the audience understand the results. I was challenged throughout this week with creating my project. I finished the week by coming up with a initial research question I could apply to the data sets. The question is: How does certain factor affect the student's and the parent's perception of the child's mental state? JJ and I sat down for hours to come up with this and it might change later in the project too, according to how we can organize the data. I expect next week to be more independent because it is project work week for me. I am very excited for this because I will be able to apply what I learned along with specific work skills I have picked up.
The first day I walked in nervous and not knowing what to expect. Although when I finally met JJ she was so stoked to have an intern! She immediately started chatting me up about my interests along with what I wanted to take away from the three weeks. She then gave me a quick tour of the offices which house 150 employees. Everyone I met was eager to have a conversation and meet the new guy! Throughout the week I mostly sat with JJ and learned how to do data collection using surveys the student and parents filled out at enrollment, graduation, 180 days after the program, and 365 days after. JJ happened to be gone Wednesday and Thursday so I was assigned to do some independent research on wilderness therapy. On Friday we begun on data analysis by sorting the names and numbers to make a graph. This information shows the effectiveness of the program which can be used for a variety of different benefits. I am very excited for the next few week and to keep learning about research!
Building up to this internship, I really wanted to pursue something in psychology which turned out to be one of the hardest fields to get an internship with as a juniors in High School. At first, I looked at colleges (starting with Fort Lewis) and their independent research programs that the professors run. This is, again, difficult for any student in High School and I very quickly found this out when I contacted CU, CSU, and CU Denver. I then brought my expectations down and looked locally for therapists in the area. The only problem with this, is confidentiality with each individual patient. So once I heard about Open Sky, you can imagine I was pretty stoked. I am surprised I am not more nervous about it but I do have a pretty good idea of what to expect. No matter what tasks face me I feel like I will be interested in them and, in turn, motivated to carry them out.