Surviving Internship 101

Having been an intern for a little over a month now, I feel qualified to give some tips on how to survive this part of every music therapists’ journey. Internship can be scary and intimidating at first, but starting off on the right foot can put you ahead and set you up for a successful six months (or however long it takes!) I hope you enjoy reading what I have to say about surviving internship! -Alex

hand with apple pencil hovering over of a white iPad that displays a digital weekly planning page.

Get in the Routine

Okay, so you were a full-time student for four years, maybe took a month or two off, and now you have a full-time job. Life, right? While this doesn’t seem very glamorous on paper, I like to find ways to make it seem that way. Whether that’s waking up early to make breakfast, stopping to get a $7 coffee just because, or taking moments during the work day to deep breathe and do some mini meditations, I’m making a routine. I may be tweaking it every day so that it works for me and my schedule, but I’m doing more things for me than I probably ever have. Work on yourself, be kind to yourself, and you will learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible. 

Take it All In

As I’m starting to lead and co-lead more sessions, I’m becoming very comfortable with the fact that not everything is going to go perfect all the time. But- it is all a learning experience. I take all that feedback, from my wonderful clients and wonderful supervisors, and use it to become a better music therapy intern. Shifting from a “perfectionist” to an “imperfectionist” has been difficult for me, but I’m making it work!

Be Flexible

Not only in your internship, but in every part of your life. Something may happen where a client cancels and you have to make up those hours somewhere else, it’s no biggie. Something may happen in your personal life where you have to take some time off of your internship, it is OKAY! This is your journey, there is no right or wrong way to do this. It will get done, it will be okay, YOU WILL BE OKAY!

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Learn to Shut Off

It can be hard, but you need to do it. This is a lot of work, and it takes up a lot of your time, but you need to step away sometimes otherwise you will burn out. I like to make my weekends about me and what I want to do. Whether that’s hanging out with friends and family, learning some of my favorite songs on guitar, or just being alone- I leave it up to myself and how I’m feeling. You’re interacting with so many different people all week, some time to yourself can be so valuable. Listen to your body, and give it what it needs!

While there are many more things I learned and am still currently learning, these four tips have really been at the center of my first month. Dealing with personal life and work life balance is hard, but I know I can do this. Keeping my routine about me, and surrounding myself with positive, supportive, and uplifting people has really made this experience great so far. I’m excited for what the next five months will bring!