One More Quarter to Go: Reflections on being Almost Finished with School

I have the urge to blog again, and that can only mean one thing: I have papers to write for the end of the quarter. Projects to complete. Assignments to be turned in. Instead, I am blogging, running, kayaking, and hanging out with family in Beaverton. My procrastination surprises me, Dear Reader, for I am nearly finished with my second to the last quarter.

That’s right, friends. Just one quarter looms between me and my diploma. Only ten weeks, 8 credits, three classes, forty internship hours, a dash of supervision, and dollop of observation and I am ready to roll. To put those numbers in perspective, I have been in school now since April of 2014 (January of 2014 if you count the time it took to get my pre-reqs), steady. Not a single quarter did I take off. I dillied and dallied my way through, to be sure, but now it’s head down and nose to the old grindstone.

I have accumulated 82 credits, over 700 hours of internship, 100 hours of practicum, two speeding tickets, and one divorce. Stacks of books and papers teeter on my office floor, graduate school stalagmites, geological layers of my last three and a half years. From FOO to CBT, I have studied, role-played, fish-bowled, analyzed, dissected, processed, empathized, and listened.

If I am called upon to participate in one more group presentation, I will spontaneously self-combust. I cannot muster the will to create yet one more PowerPoint presentation.

I believe I have crammed as much as will fit into my little pea brain. My savings account is nearly empty. I need a job, an income, some cash flow. My laptop is on its last leg, and I’m desperate for a new phone, a housekeeper, a lawn boy, and someone to look after mother.

I am tired. I want to be done. And at the same time, I am terrified.

I am a veritable bundle of insecurities. I really should have studied harder, taken this more seriously, read more books, signed up for more workshops, Am I good enough? Empathic enough? Can I create a safe container? Who shall I chose as my guiding theorist? Where might I find a mentor? Will I pass the licensing exam? How much does it cost?

The quarter officially ended on Friday, but I still have one more class to attend and two papers to write. I may even have three more papers to write, but I’m choosing to be in denial about the third one, hoping it will just go away and that the rest of my project will be so fantastic that the professor will overlook the missing lit review.

This blog is a sort of precursor to the reflection paper I need to turn in by Monday for my case consultation class. Case consultation is a class that we take once we get to internship. Eight interns meet once a week with an instructor to discuss our clients, our struggles, any issues we are encountering as we learn to practice our new counseling skills. This quarter’s class (my third) was the best thus far—the group dynamics, the instructor, the quality of feedback and support.

It’s funny, I started my internship full of fear and trepidation. You can read about that here. Now my internship is a place of respite—I used to dread Mondays, but these days I actually look forward to getting to work, talking with my coworkers and interacting with the clients. After I spend seven hours at Crisis Triage, I generally have one or two clients from my other site whom I meet in their homes. In the past eight and a half months, I have racked up almost all of the hours I need to acquire by September. In fact, I’ve met the total number of hours needed and have to get only about 30 more direct client contact hours.

When I began this adventure in October, 300 client contact hours seemed a daunting and impossible number. Now, the next big hurdle, amassing 2500 hours after graduation in order to become fully licensed, doesn’t seem so out of reach. Just moderately challenging. As much of a challenge as finishing my final Gestalt paper.

I guess when I reflect on the past nine months, I feel fortunate in many ways. Fortunate to be nearly done, to have had internship sites and colleagues that mesh so well with my scheduling needs and personality quirks, to be so well supported by friends and family. I have listened to other student interns who are not so lucky to have flexible hours or supervisors, or who also have small children and families to manage on top of school and internship.

It seems like I kvetch a lot about school, but in the grand scheme of things, these past three years have been overwhelmingly positive. I have learned so much about myself, about counseling, about the human condition and what drives us to do what we do.

If I could sum it all up in a single sentence, it might come down to something like this: I have learned forgiveness, acceptance, tolerance, and compassion, not only for others but for myself.

6 thoughts on “One More Quarter to Go: Reflections on being Almost Finished with School

  1. Wow, Pam! You are dedicated and conscientious and, jeez, now you’re even wise. Well done, my friend. It’s been a long haul, but clearly worth all the effort. Onward and upward. You are amazing.

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