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.
We are only in February and my plans for 2018 have already changed a bit.
I have accomplished two things so far:
Submit Child Life practicum application at UCSF Children’s Hospital Oakland
Applied to University of Minnesota’s online masters in Child and Adolescent Development and Child Life (I should find out in the next few weeks)
I have never been fully sold on the idea of having my masters in Child Life specifically, I want to be a bit more versatile so in 20 years if I don’t want to be in child life anymore, I can easily move around.
A new idea that has come to me is getting my masters degree in Education with a focus in school counseling. I would still pursue a Child Life career but not on the Graduate level. I am thinking of taking the remainder of classes I need from UCSB in order to get my certificate in Child Life. These classes will also be the classes that the Child Life Council (CLC) require in order to qualify to sit for the exam.
I can still get a child life internship going this direction, although it may be a bit harder…it is possible!
So here is what I am thinking:
UCSD – MA in Education with a focus in counseling + UCSB Classes
Arizona State University- Masters in Social work+ UCSB Classes
When it comes time to apply for a Child Life internship, I will hopefully be able to put on my application that I am enrolled in a graduate program.
My journey began about 5 years ago in 2012 when a friend of mine was in school to become a Nurse Practitioner. She had to complete rounds in Child Life and mentioned it to me as something she believed I would be interested in. At first, I brushed it off…working with sick kids? That seemed terrifying and sad. At this point I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I know I wanted to work with kids, and I knew I wanted to be in a medical setting, but I did not want to be a doctor or NP. I played with the idea of entering the field of psychology, social work, teaching, opening my own in home daycare…so many thought of what I could do!
I eventually came back to the idea of Child Life and decided to start volunteering with my local children hospital. I began volunteering there in Feb 2013 trying out the different departments. I began with Art Cart in the Cancer Center where I worked with a child life specialist and set up art activities for the kids and their families in the waiting room. After that, I decided I wanted to try something else and was placed in the waiting room in the outpatient surgery unit. I was really only there for about a month. I had the hardest time navigating that unit. Lastly, I came across the Preschool Playroom, and that is where I would stay for the next few years.
I loved working in the playroom. It was a playroom specifically for ages 0-3. At first I was volunteering directly with a Certified Child Life Specialist, and I loved her! After talking to her and picking her brain about what a Child Life Specialist does, I realized pursuing a career as a Child Life Specialist was exactly what I wanted to do and I was exactly where I needed to be in order to do that.
The hospital ended up changing things around, and instead of CCLS’s running the playrooms they hired Playroom Coordinators. This was a bummer for me because I really wanted to work alongside a CCLS. I think I went through a total of 3 or 4 playroom coordinators before one of them stuck. I ended up taking a break from volunteering because school became a bit hectic. I went back to volunteering about 6 months later and the woman who was my co volunteer ended up being hired as a Playroom Coordinator. I thought this was awesome! I was so excited because I thought to myself, “This could be my next step! I can get a job as a playroom coordinator”. However, that wasn’t in the cards for me. No one was giving me a call back regarding my application and I was incredibly frustrated. Eventually my volunteer supervisor put in a good word for me and I got an interview. The interview didn’t go great, it was very awkward and really felt like they were doing it to check it off their list. I got annoyed with this and decided to move on from the idea of getting a job at this hospital. I hoped they would have more invested in me, having been a loyal volunteer for 4 years. I wasn’t getting the help or guidance I kept asking for. So I decided to move on.
I have been working for a sports medicine office for about 5 1/2 years as an assistant and I decided it was time to move on from there too – needless to say 2017 has been filled with a ton of changes. I found an awesome job workinxg with a small company as a behavior specialist. It is new, it is hard, I now know I don’t want to work in mental health or with children who have developmental disabilities, and I wouldn’t call it my dream job, but it is a step in the right direction and I am learning so much! I am very excited to begin this new journey.
A Certified Child Life Specialist is a healthcare worker who provides developmentally appropriate interventions to infants, children, and youth during their hospital stay. These interventions may include procedure preparation, therapeutic play, coping strategies and pain management. Certified Child Life Specialists are also a very important resource for parents and siblings to turn to when in need of education, support, and guidance.
A Certified Child Life Specialist has to go through specific schooling, complete a 600 hour internship, and sit for an exam. In order to maintain certification a CCLS must also complete Professional Development Units (PDU)
All throughout high school and some of college I have never been a great student. I never really developed study habits, and in all honesty, I just strongly disliked school. I didn’t like sitting in a classroom having to do group projects with people who couldn’t care less about what their grade was, and I never learned anything by a professor standing in the front of a room lecturing me.
After High School in 2010 I did not go to college right away, I needed a break. When It was time for me to being college I took classes for a couple years at my local Community College, taking the basic classes I needed. I then transferred to San Jose State University to study Child and Adolescent Development. Well, that was a disaster. I live about 45 minutes from SJSU, had to leave home at about 7:00am to park and get to my 9am class on time. That wasn’t even the bad part. I took one semester at SJSU and when I went to register for the following semester, all the classes I needed were already filled. The CHAD program was so impacted that students had a very hard time getting into classes. This was not a game I wanted to play.
So, though the community college I had attended I came across an online program through Arizona State University. I knew I would be able to handle online classes because through the community college I had taken a handful and really enjoyed them. I spoke with an enrollment advisor through ASU and it really did sound like the perfect program for me. My biggest concern? Would my diploma say “Online” on it? (It doesn’t by the way.)
Although online classes are the future, I still feel like there is a stigma associated with it. If someone says they got an online degree it may seem less of a success or of lesser value than an “on campus” degree.
My experience with Arizona State University was absolutely amazing. I have never been so successful as a student. I graduated with my BS in Family and Human Development in August 2017. I have made some amazing online friends, and the sense of community through Arizona State is like nothing I have experienced in regards to an academic institution. I had such a positive experience through Arizona State that I actually WANT to go back to school to get a Masters. This is a thought I had never entertained because of my lack of positive experience with education.
Check out the online degrees through ASU. They have a ton on Undergrad and Graduate programs available.