Lindsey Riordan taught life skills to school-aged youth as part of her internship with LifeSTEP.
Why did you choose this internship?
I chose my internship with LifeSTEP (Life Skills Training and Enhancement Program) because I love working with kids, and I want to be a clinical psychologist one day where I am able to work with and treat young children. I thought this internship would allow me to gain experience in working with children, and to begin practicing my clinical skills before going to graduate school. I was looking for an internship that related to what I was passionate about, and the focus of this internship aligns perfectly with the goals and values of the humanities department, such as cultural competence, empathy, and critical thinking skills. Working closely with young children requires a lot of understanding, and with many of the tasks and challenges that we work through together, we have to think outside of the box, and so I come with with activities to teach my youth about job, school, and life skills such as organization, conflict resolution, time management, and budgeting. The College of Humanities has set me up for success with this internship by teaching me the soft skills that I need to do well in my psychology career.
What was the focus of your internship?
The focus of my internship is to work with a child to teach them life skills, and work with them through their mental and behavioral challenges. For example, my child that I work closely with was given an IEP (Individualized Education Program) where we sought to improve her grades over the course of the year. I developed plans for her to get her school work done on time, as well as teaching her how to manage her relationships with friends and family along the way. The LifeSTEP internship is truly centered around improving a child's life by being there for them when they go through life's difficulties, and being a solid role model in an individual child's life when they may not have a figure like that. I learned how to manage and keep up with paperwork to document a child's behavioral progress and limitations, which is a skill that I will be using in my future job. I had never completed any type of clinical paperwork before, so this was a new skill for me to learn that will be extremely valuable in my future. I also developed my clinical skills by working one-on-one with a client. I practiced being empathetic, helpful, and resolving any type of conflict that came up. Each week, all of the interns met in a group so that we could discuss what was going on with the children we were all working with, and ask each other for advice and ideas. Many times the trainings and help that I provided to my child worked and truly helped her, but there were some weeks that were more difficult, and I practiced reaching out for help from my peers, which is something that I will continue to do this year in my internship, and beyond.
How has your internship experience influenced your plans for your future?
This internship has helped me to clearly see that working in the field of child psychology is what I want to do, and has allowed me to solidify my plans to continue to learn about this field as I begin to think about applying to graduate school. I paired my humanities major with a psychology major in order to bring about a more humane, culturally competent, and informed knowledge to the practice of psychology. I look at psychology as an ever-evolving process of understanding the vast level of information that the human brain has to offer, however, learning all of the different diagnoses, symptoms, and medications can be quite cut and dry. By studying both Applied Humanities and Psychology, as well as completing the LifeSTEP internship during my undergraduate career, I feel confident that I will be ready to obtain my doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D.) in the near future, so that I can practice as a clinical psychologist with a wide range of patients!