Well, I did it! I got into grad school! Woohoo!!!!
As of Fall 2018 I will be attending the University of Minnesota working towards getting my MA in Child and Adolescent Development and Child Life. This will technically be a dual masters program, so just incase the ACLP decides they want to put the requirement back in place that we will need a masters in Child Life, I should be covered.
Below is a general idea as to how the next couple years will be going for me, starting with fall of 2018. The other really cool thing about this program that I love is that it is online. I want to be able to have the flexibility to move around for a practicum, internship or job. Having an online program really gives me that flexibility. Also, before you get freaked out, University of Minnesota is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Since it is online, I don’t have to pay out of state tuition, huge plus right there!
Since I have been accepted I feel less intimidated by the idea of not receiving an offer of a practicum because I will have this program under my belt. However, I still really want to be accepted into a practicum program and am going to keep trying to get one! I have received feedback on my resume from a fellow Child Life student (Thank you Ashley!) she mentioned I should look into more volunteer opportunities. So I am also looking into The Painted Turtle and Camp Okizu. I am going to put in applications for both, so we shall see what will come of that!
Child Life month (March) was filled with a ton of excitement for me. Including getting a few fun prizes for a child life giveaway I entered.
I have followed Shani (Child Life Mommy) for the past few years. She was one of the first Child Life Specialist I contacted when I was looking for information on the field of child life. More recently, I came across Dawn (Dose of Play), Randi (Kid Cope Specialist), and Diane (Adventures in Child Life). These incredibly women have all been inspirations while navigating the field as well as creating this blog!
For Child Life month some child life specialists like to do give aways of something they have created, a favorite distraction/prep toy, or just something child life related. I entered a giveaway that I won! No joke, I was so excited about this, I never win anything!
I am excited to begin my collection of these toys and books so that when I do become a CCLS I will be able to use them! I also plan on playing with them so I can become more familiar with them and how they can help.
Be sure to check out their blogs and follow them on Instagram!
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are two hospitals in the area that accept practicum students. UCSF Oakland and UCSF San Francisco. I applied to UCSF Oakland for a practicum at the beginning of Feb. I was so excited about doing this, but that excitement was short lived. I got an email from the practicum coordinator saying that they only accept students who are affiliated with a university due to liability reasons. I was SO BUMMED. Of course I understood the reasoning behind this, but I was still frusterated. I gave myself the rest of the day to be bummed but then had to move on.
The next day I decided I really wanted a practicum and I was just going to apply everywhere. So I found hospitals who accept unaffiliated students in a few states over. I really didn’t want to have to move for a practicum, but I have come to terms that if I want a practicum (and I do) then I am going to have to move. Chances are it will only be for about 3 months…this is doable.
I have applied to Tucson Medical Center so far, and plan to also apply to Rady’s Children’s Hospital, Phoenix Children’s, UC Davis, and Randall Children’s in Oregon. Honestly, I chose places that I knew people who live in the area and places I have been wanting to visit.
My 3 big pieces of advice to you regarding practicums:
If you are not currently enrolled in a university make sure the hospitals you are applying to accept unaffiliated students. Call/email the practicum coordinator, introduce yourself first and last name, and ask a few questions.
They all have different application deadlines and requirements, be organized. I have a calendar specifically for application deadlines. I also have each envelope made out with a post it on it with the due date.
If you can get one, take it! The field is getting more and more competitive and a practicum will only help! I hope I get one!
Some feedback I have received regarding my resume is that I need to build it a bit more. I have volunteered at hospitals with the Child Life department for the past 4 years, but I think I need to choose more organizations. So I am going to look into:
Make A Wish
Ronald McDonald House
Local companies that do animal assisted therapy
Oncology/bereavement Summer Camps (for patients as well as families/siblings)
Wow! We are 2 days into March and so far it has been great.
First, March is Child Life Month, so Happy Child Life Month!
Second…drum roll please…I GOT INTO GRAD SCHOOL woo hoo!! Honestly did not think this would happen. I applied to one school, one. I do not recommend this at all. So please don’t do it! 🙂
As of Fall 2018 I will be attending the University of Minnesota through an online platform, getting my masters degree in Child and Adolescent Development and Child Life. Essentially it is a dual masters program. This will be the first time they are admitting anyone to this program.
I was really on the fence about accepting this offer or not, but I’ve decided to just do it. I’ve wanted to pursue Child Life for the past 7 years, and I still do, so I need to focus on that. As of Fall 2018, I will officially be a Golden Gopher. Kinda a weird mascot, but I’ll go with it!
My class through UCSB extension – Intro to Child Life- will be coming to a close at the end of this month. It has been an awesome introductory class. I have really enjoyed the instructor as well as collaborating and hearing my peers ideas and thoughts. I highly recommend taking this course to test out the field a bit.
p.s. I got the super cute pin from Adventures In Child Life! Check out her etsy shop!
I am a planner. I need checklists of things to do and things that are on my mind. With that being said, I of course have a plan for 2018. This will also give you an idea of what you can expect to see me writing about over the next year.
I want to look into becoming certified in Infant Massage. Babies in the NICU need soothing touch so I think this would be a great thing to build my resume with. I am looking into a couple different programs
I am signed up for my first intro to Child Life class through UCSB Extension. It begins at the beginning of Jan. They offer an online certificate in Child Life. I am starting with just the intro class because I am hoping to get into a grad program that offers child life.
I need to submit my grad school applications for Fall 2018.
Social Work – I like this route as well because I can always make a career change if I really want/need to. I would take the Child Life classes through UCSB to qualify for the exam. The tricky part is going to be finding an internship that will work for both social work and Child Life. Not sure if that is possible.
I want to begin volunteering at a new hospital, make new connections and just get a fresh start. I have already begun the process through UCSF Mission Bay, I am just waiting for the health clearance.