Drum roll please…..

I secured myself a practicum!!!!

On Tuesday June 26th I drove about 2 hours north for an interview at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. It was a group interview and honestly I was pretty nervous. Up until this point I had done 6 phone int58ac5444e9a9aerviews. All of the practicums were out of state, so phone interviews were the best route. None of those phone interviews went well. They were awkward, I had a hard time playing off the interviewers reactions since I was unable to see them, and I feel like it’s just very hard to sell yourself over the phone.

So although the interview at UC Davis was 2 hours away I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to do an in person interview. It was a group interview, so it was me plus 3 other candidates interviewing with 3 Child Life Specialists. Now, this is the first time UC Davis is offering a practicum – I was completely unaware of this – so I really was only up against 3 other girls. I didn’t have to try to compete against a ton of other people. This absolutely worked in my favor.

We were asked 5 questions:

  • What is it about UC Davis that made you apply here as opposed to another hospital?
  • What is your experience like and how does it set you apart from the rest of the candidates?
  • In what area do you think you can improve your work with children?
  • What is your elevator speech for what a Certified Child Life Specialist does?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

I walked away from the group interview feeling great. I was able to listen to the other candidates responses to the questions that were asked, and what each of their experiences with kids was like. In all honesty, I felt like I was truly one of the more qualified candidates. After the interview, the current Child Life interns at UC Davis came to pick the 4 of us up and took us on a quick tour of the floors. This was pretty cool because we got to pick the brains of two current interns and it got us excited to see where we may complete our practicum.

About a week later I got a call from a woman named Emily at UC Davis and she offered me a spot – they had two spots to give! I was thrilled, I just wanted to scream, but at the same time I was speechless. I have been waiting for this for so long and I got the break I needed! I finally feel like I am on the right track and making really good progress in my career.

My practicum will begin in October 2018, and go through December 2018. It will be about 12 hours a week, 2 days a week. The Child Life team is still figuring out logistics but I will certainly be documenting my experiences! It sounds like we will do two rotations one in the infusion center and one in the PICU. We will have assignments to complete while there such as presenting a case study, as well as readings. I am really excited that I will be at the hospital during the holidays! I am sure I will have a ton of fun activities to show everyone.

This is going to sound a bit corny but, I believe in signs. The week before my interview I had Chinese food and received these TWO fortunes in one cookie: I took them as a sign. Dont give up!

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So, how did I do it?

I think a lot of it was luck. I know this isn’t helpful, but I wasn’t up against many other candidates.

I prepared for the interview! I have a list of interview questions that I have typed up, that I reviewed my answered for so I knew what to talk about. If you want it, let me know and I will send it along!

My experience. I know this got me ahead of others. We all have babysitting, nannying, and a genuine love for children. However, I have 5 years volunteer experience in a hospital setting, and I spent the last 7 months working one on one with a child as a behavior specialist in his school. I worked with his school team, healthcare providers, and blended family. I also spent time at an Oncology camp as a camp counselor. This 100% put me ahead because I was able to reference these experiences of how I am more prepared than others for this practicum.

I went in very confident! I felt good about myself, I got myself a coffee on the drive there, I did my make up, got a blow out that morning, and was really just feeling genuinely good about myself.

And if all else fails….Fake it till you make it!!! If you pretend you know what you are doing, people will believe you actually know what you’re doing and will put confidence in you! I do this often unfortunately, but it works!

GOOD LUCK!!!

Play With Child Life is on Etsy!

I have been wanting to start an Etsy page for a little over a year now. I have always loved DIY crafts, and I have all these ideas in my head! Since I am not working or going to school this summer I decided it was the perfect time to play with my ideas for Etsy!

I have finally made my Etsy page live! It will of course continue to grow over time, but I have some fun decals that will adhere to water bottles, phone or laptop cases, windows, etc. I also am working on T shirts, and Tote bags, and should have those up in the next few days!

Please go explore my page. If you want something custom I am more than happy to help you out with that. Just let me know!

My Etsy Page!

 

Camp Okizu

I just got back from 9 days at a camp called Camp Okizu. I had such an amazing time! First of all,  have never gone to camp, even as a kid. My only frame of reference was from The Parent Trap with Lindsey Lohan.  Summer-Camp.jpg

A little background on Camp Okizu. It is located in Berry Creek, CA which is about an hour from Chico, CA.  Camp Okizu is an Oncology camp. They have weeks where kids who have or had cancer can attend, as well as weeks when siblings of those affected by cancer can attend. They also have family camps. There is always medical staff there to make sure the kids are getting their medication, and to assist with any situations that may arise. Every year there is a new theme. This year the theme was Superhero!

 

I went to Oncology week 1, so the population I worked with were kiddos who had cancer, or are currently going through treatment. The first two days were staff training days. There was about 40 of us counselors, and over the two days, we really got to get to know each other through playing games, and spending time during meals together. A lot of the counselors were either oncology campers themselves, or a sibling of a camper. There were also plenty of us who are interested in working with this population in our field. Because many of the counselors were campers themselves, Many of them know each other very well. They are all very welcoming to the new staff, and by the end of the 9 days you feel like you have known these people forever. It has been about a week since I’ve been home, and I am missing them all very much.

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Padfoot, Strawberry, Atari, Stat

In my cabin, I had 3 other counselors with me. Two of which were experienced, and one other who was new. To the 4 of us we had 7 girls between the ages of 9-12. The councelors all chose camp names instead of going by our given names. I chose the name Padfoot. (Points given to any of you who know what the name is in reference to.) We slept outside during the night, which was absolutely beautiful! I have never seen so many stars.

 

Our days were filled with tons of activities. As a cabin we got to do swimming, boating, arts & crafts, archery, fishing, hiking, etc. The kids also got to break off into Special Interest groups and do activities with other kids of various ages. During the week, meals were made special and unique by adding twists. We did a baseball lunch -the kids had to literally catch their hotdogs and chips, absolutely amazing lol!- we had meals outside with other cabins. We also had special events during the day – Mission in Metropolis – playing games to redeem for tickets, which the kids could turn in for a snow cone, or dunk a counselor.

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This is what the week looked like

This experience was absolutely exhausting, by the time I got home I was dead tired, I had a ton of mosquito bites, I needed a shower, and couldn’t wash my clothes fast enough. However, It was one of the most exciting and rewarding weeks I have had in a long time. I met so many amazing kids who openly shared their story with cancer, there was crying, laughter, and mourning the loved ones they have lost from cancer.

 

I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids, or co counselors to have had this experience with. I will absolutely be back next year for Oncology 1! If you live in the area, I strongly encourage you to check them out!

Camp Okizu Website

Practicums and Internships

Finding the right practicums and internships is not easy! It is a lot of research on your own! So, while getting myself prepared to apply to everything, I have created two spreadsheets to help me get organized. Feel free to take them and use them however you need to! If there is anything you see needs to be updated please let me know in the comments and I will do so!

Please also remember to do your research. Hospitals sometimes put their student opportunities on hold. Always double check the website or give them a call to confirm information.

Some key pieces of information you should be asking for:

  • Is there a GPA requirement?
  • Do they need unofficial or official transcripts
  • Do I need to be affiliated with a university while completing the internship/practicum?
  • When is the due date for the application?
  • Is there a fee upon submission of the application or acceptance of the internship/practicum?
  • When do they offer the internship/practicum? (Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall)
  • Do my letters of recommendation need to be in a signed and sealed envelope?

I am navigating this confusing path as well! Please let me know if you have found or done something to be helpful on your Child Life Journey!

Child Life Internships 

Child Life Practicums

*Update: You should also check out Child Life United as you may be able to land a practicum or internship oversease!  www.childlifeunited.org

 

Grad School!

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  IMG_7412with 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!

Here is the link if you want more information on the    U of M MA program

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!

UofM Sample timeline