Navigating the New

It’s a little hard to believe that I am approaching the second month of my internship. How has an entire month come and gone so quickly? I have spent the past 4 years preparing for my internship—spending countless hours in the practice room, doing clinical work, and learning as much as I can to prepare for this experience. And now I’m here (finally!) … but now what?

The transition from a full-time student to full-time intern has been exciting, new, and challenging. Although I feel like I just got here, I wanted to share 5 tips/reminders that I have found helpful as I begin internship and enter the professional world. I hope that this post resonates well with anyone who is navigating a new season of their professional life. Thanks for tuning in 😊 – Abby

Establishing a Routine

I am the type of person who thrives when I have a routine.  Internship introduced a lot of newness into my life within a short period of time. The process of moving, adjusting to a new environment, and the transition from full-time student to full-time MT intern had me leaving any sort of routine on the backburner longer than I would like to admit. Now that I am a month into my internship and feeling more settled, I am finally establishing a routine that works for me. Some of the most important parts of my routine include waking up at a set time each morning throughout the work week, planning my meals, exercising, and setting weekly goals. If you are trying to establish a new routine, try to start small with implementing one new thing at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed all at once.

Taking Opportunities that Scare Me

Because completing an internship is one of the first major steps that music therapy students take into the professional world, I am finding myself facing a lot of new opportunities and experiences. Some of these things include working with new populations, giving professional presentations, participating in advocacy events, writing blog posts 😉 and more. While I am so grateful for  these learning opportunities, I have to admit that taking on a lot of new things that have been previously unfamiliar can be kind of scary! As it turns out, I’m learning that being uncomfortable in new learning situations usually means I’m doing something right. If you’ve been thinking about trying something new that scares you a little bit, I encourage you to go for it. 

Asking Questions

I’m learning that it is 100% normal to not have all the answers. After all, I am here to learn! Internship is the time to grow and put into practice everything I have learned in classes and practicum experiences the past 4 years. This internship has blessed me with so many supervisors that not only provide answers to my many questions with a variety of perspectives, but they are all also extremely supportive throughout my learning experience. If you find yourself needing guidance with your professional development, seek out a trusted mentor you can communicate with and who will point you in the right direction.

Being Patient with Myself

Being patient with myself has been completely necessary throughout this transition. As a guilty perfectionist, I have to remind myself that I am in new territory, I am going to make mistakes, and I’m going to get frustrated. Giving myself grace when I am feeling this way helps me gain some perspective. I’m not expected to have it all together yet, and as I mentioned, I’m here to learn. Something that I have found to be helpful when I recognize the self-doubt creeping in is to remind myself of where I was before in relation to where I am now. Not being afraid to acknowledge my progress over time and allowing myself to be happy with how far I’ve come has been especially helpful throughout my entire journey as a music therapy student thus far. Everything is just a part of the process.

Making Time for Self-Care

Throughout most of my undergrad, I spent a lot of time thinking that I could do it all, say yes to everything, and work all the time. After dealing with some tough burnout from a previous job, I learned how important it was to recognize when it was time to prioritize myself. The beauty of self-care is that it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, it just needs to work for you. My favorite forms of self-care include spending time with my loved ones, taking walks through the Metroparks, exercising, or just allowing myself time to be alone and relax with a book or a movie. Find what works best for you when you need to decompress so you can be your best self when serving others.  Bonus tip: I’ve never regretted a caffeine boost 😉

Abby is the music therapy intern at The Groovy Garfoose. Abby completed her music therapy coursework at Cleveland State University, where French horn was her primary instrument. Abby chose to pursue music therapy because it combined her love for music and creativity with her passion for helping others. Abby is excited for the new experiences and opportunities that she will encounter while working with the diverse populations that The Groovy Garfoose serves.