Monday, April 29, 2013

Week 17: April 22nd-28th: The calm... that hopefully won't be followed by a storm

So It's yet another Monday and I am still practicum-less. I applied to 1 more site and have heard back from a 2nd one that they officially received my application and are now reviewing all the applications. The email included about 18 other students, so I'm not going to hold my breath. It's my top choice site too.
I had sort of a  revelation at some point last week, sort of a calm that just washed over me about all this practicum stuff. Yes, it's stressful not knowing, of course I'd prefer to have a placement...but with everything I've got going on, I can't afford wasted energy on this issue. I've done what I can, I've applied to some places and now I'm just going to wait. I'm going to wait, and not worry and focus on what matters in this moment: ORALS!

My 5 things:

1. I went running twice, which is an improvement from last week, although my knee is still bothering me. The second day of running I went over to Alameda with J and we both ran. Granted, he runs much faster and farther than I do, so we don't actually run together but we do our warm up walk and stretches together. It's nice to know he's there doing the same thing though, even if I can't run with him.

2. I baked: twice this week. That's also how you know the stress is piling up. I baked banana-blackberry-oat muffins for us to take with us to work, etc and then I baked chocolate chip cookies last night for a treat. I recently purchased wheat flour due to the hype about it being better for you. I won't lie, it just isn't very good in cookies. I can handle it in the muffins and breads I've made, but cookies are just made to be baked with white flour and that is just all I have to say about that. I guess it could just be an acquired taste, like when you first switch to wheat bread. Jury is still out I suppose.

3. Did yoga twice this week. I really need to invest in a yoga mat. I use videos on YouTube of different types of yoga, recently I've been trying flow yoga and I like it but the rug we have out on the front room is just not cutting it for trying to hold some of those poses. I need to stop being a cheapskate and just get a mat, they're like $10.

4. Sunday I had a study session via Skype with a friend for almost 3 hours, going over materials for our Oral competency exams. Definitely helped me a LOT to feel like I semi-have an idea now about what it entails and what I'm expected to know. I still don't feel totally prepared, but it helped immensely. We're actually planning another one later in the week to review more.

5. I had a take home midterm that was sent out Thursday. We have until the following Friday to complete it. I didn't want to have to worry about my midterm and orals so I decided to start on the midterm on Thursday, and finish it up this weekend. I spent most of my morning on Sunday working on it (which was followed by that 3 hour study session...Sunday was a busy-brain day). I can proudly say that I've completed it and now I can focus all my energy on my Orals. Did I do the best possible job ever? No, but Orals have a whole lot more riding on them than this midterm. Priorities.

Wow, so I went running, baked, and did yoga....each one twice. Interesting theme this week.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 16: April 15th-21st 2013: Frustration. Where does it get you?

So it's a week later, and I still have no practicum placement to call my own.
I've applied to 3 sites, and haven't heard back from any. Others have heard back and even have interviews (some even have placements already!). I'm terrible at being optimistic. 
What makes all this so much worse, is that we have our 3rd year Oral clinical competency exam (basically 1 hour of sitting across from two faculty while you come up with diagnoses/assessment/treatment/cultural formulation/safety issues/yadda yadda right off the top of your pressure) in about 2 weeks. I haven't found the time to study much, and even when i do I'm constantly checking my email for practicum updates and to see if anyone has gotten back to me.
I feel like I'm constantly frustrated. As my professor last quarter told me: "Frustration won't get you anywhere" and she's right but when you're doing the best you can, and your best just isn't good enough, where does that leave you but frustrated?
I was thinking about that earlier when I was doing yoga and my knee was bothering me. I had to cool it on running this past week because my IT band injury was acting up. Not being able to run is just about one of the most frustrating things for me. Today I opted for yoga instead of running and was thinking how angry I am with my IT band and how frustrated it makes me. Then I thought "my IT band doesn't care how frustrated I am, it's injured, and no matter how mad I am at it, it's not going to heal itself just because I'm frustrated. then my professor's words loomed into my head "Frustration won't get you anywhere". Unfortunately, no matter how angry I am at my injury or how mad it makes isn't going away, and it isn't going to change just based on that fact. With my knee (or IT band to be more technically correct), I need to have patience, I need to utilize other things (ie yoga) when I can't do what I really want, I have to continue to slowly work back up to running and stop getting angry when I'm not running as much as I used to. Basically, I need to give myself some credit for what I have accomplished, learn to settle for what I've got in front of me, and work with what I'm given. I need to learn to accept that it isn't going to be the way I want it, but that it can still be something if I allow it to be.
Maybe I need to take that same concept and apply it to my practicum issue. Give myself some credit for what I've been able to accomplish, learn to settle for what is available to me, and accept that it isn't going to be the way I want it but that it can still be something if I allow it to be.
I think it both cases... I've got a lot of work cut out for me. Who wants to settle for being less than? But then again, who doesn't have much choice in the matter?
So negative lately.

My 5 things:
1. Went running, but only once because my injury started to bother me and I thought it best not to push it. I still went once, so that counts for something.

2. Went to the Spring Gala my school hosts every year. This year it was on a boat, dinner, dancing, casino games, drinks, fun times!
View of San Francisco from the boat 
It left around 8pm, giving us a beautiful skyline to look at. This was J's first time being in town (well now living) for the gala so he got to be my date. It was so much fun to be with friends and enjoy the awesome view.

3. Did an hour of yoga on Monday, after I found out I was officially rejected and having to go to clearing house. I had wanted to go running to blow off steam but had just gone the day before, so instead I opted for trying to clear my mind.

4. Saturday, J and I got lunch at the food carts in Alameda, Chairman is by far, the best!! After we ate, we took a stroll in Alameda and just enjoyed the sun.

5. Sunday, after we did some work at home, we set off for Alameda to lay on the beach and soak up some sun! It was about 80 degrees, with an awesome breeze. We packed a picnic lunch and I studied for my Oral Exam...but at least I was able to get some vitamin D in the process!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Week 15: April 8th-14th 2013: Officially rejected and onto Clearing House

So today is the official "Notification Day". Although for me, it was more like the official "Getting totally rejected day". The thing is, I had planned on turning down the 1 site I interviewed at if they had called, which they didn't. Really, that makes my job easier, not having to have the awkward "thanks but no thanks" conversation. Even though I had planned on participating in Clearing House (what happens after rejection) it still stings to see the vast majority of my classmates posting about how they've been accepted and knowing I've got a whole lot more ahead of me before I get that feeling. The good news is, I will get that feeling. I will get a placement, I will have an offer at some point and  I will be able to accept. In order for that to happen though, I've got to go through the application process all over again. So today, instead of spending time on my dissertation or reading for my class, I've got to spend time updating my CV, rewriting cover letters and reformatting letters of recommendation so they're ready to be sent out as soon as we get word of which sites still have openings. Even more frustrating, the process starts at 1pm on Wednesday, when I just so happened to have a client until 1:30pm and then over an hour commute even if I'm able to leave right after that client. I think this may result in me bringing my laptop to practicum and taking a few minutes in between my client and the rest of my paperwork to get those applications sent.
I know this will all work out. I'm just not a patient person, and I hate being in the period of the unknown any longer than I absolutely need to be and I've already been in it since we turned in applications the first time.
I can't help but wonder either if all this rejection from these forensics sites is just another "you shouldn't be going that route" sign. It's frustrating to feel like the universe just really isn't on your side and keeps telling you what you feel in your heart is wrong. I mean, I keep telling myself that it's not the universe telling me I'm going in the wrong direction, it's the universe testing me, and making me work for it. But after so much constant rejection with zero progress in that direction, I can't help but wonder if it is actually telling me to choose something else and I'm just the idiot misreading the signs of sitting here in denial. I mean how do you know when enough is enough? Am I just being a masochist by continually setting myself up for failure and disappointment? How do you know when the universe is testing you versus giving you clear signs to choose a different direction?
Hmm, I'm not getting anywhere that isn't leading to more unanswerable questions. As much fun as that is, I think it's time to write about my 5 things.

So here they are:

1. I went running 3 times this week. I am really digging this consistency I've got going with running 3 times aa week. Sunday I even went 2 miles! Granted, it is interval running, so this last week I was doing 2 min of running then 1 minute of walking and I did this for 30 min and went 2.14 miles. Even though it isn't running 2 miles, it's further than I usually go (usually about 1.3-1.6 miles) so i take it as a success.

2. I went in an extra day of practicum this last week to get a few extra hours. I am trying my hardest to get as many hours as possible since I'm continuously playing catch up with my practicum hours in order to try and be competitive for internship and every extra bit I can do to go above and beyond what I'm already doing is helpful.

3. J and I went to see Jurassic Park in 3D on Wednesday. It was his first 3D movie ever! I've only see one or 2 others in 3D so it's still pretty new to me as well.
We went all out and got soda and popcorn (LARGES!). 

4. On Saturday, we wanted to go and explore somewhere we've both never been but that wasn't too far from home. We decided to venture up toward Marin County and J had the idea to check out Laguanitas Brewery. We go directions and found out that they did free tours, the next one starting in approximately 1 hour.... about the same time it would take us to drive there. We arrived just in time to catch the 1pm tour. Success! 
With Louis, our 'Beer Preacher' for the afternoon

I had never been on a brewery tour. J said our guide, Louis, was one of the best ones he's ever seen from the tours he's done. We went up to his after and thanked him and he let us see the upstairs and peek into a private tour (seen in the photo above). It was an awesome experience. J even bought me a shirt to commemorate my first brewery tour. :)

5. After we went on the tour, we decided to drive into SF and get some fish and chips on the pier. We stopped off and took in the beautiful weather just before driving over the Golden Gate. I'm thankful that, although we live here, we don't take all this wonderful architecture and art for granted and still enjoy just being able to be around it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 14: April 1st-7th running, dancing, and rejection day

So today is supposed to be the official rejection day from all the sites that are no longer considering you for practicum placement. I mean, I think I've figured it out by now, seeing as how Notification Day is next week and if I haven't heard from you I'm assuming I'm out of the running. Regardless, they're supposed to let us know today. I got one rejection email already. It was a mass email with an attached document that began with "Dear Practicum Applicant,". Oh gee, thanks for the thought. At least the other sites sent me an email and used my name. I mean, rejection, is rejection, is rejection but actually, personalized rejection stings a little less I think. Still waiting on rejection emails from 3 other sites although, it's after 5pm so perhaps those sites just have bad etiquette and I won't be hearing from them. 

My 5 things:

1. I went running 3 days this past week. I cannot even put into words how much better I've been feeling lately because of it. Even though I'm not running a ton or even anywhere near what I was...but I'm running! I think, in part, just knowing that I've taken it back up and that I'm  not a "failure" at yet another thing I attempted to try is making the difference in the way I feel. I'm sure a big part is also the who endorphins being released, body getting exercise, yadda yadda. But I mean really, I wouldn't be in the field I'm in if I didn't truly believe there are some psychological forces at work here.

2. J and I had our first "guests over for dinner and drinks" at our place. We've made this amazing-art filled-cozy place we call a home together and because of distance (and unsafe location) we've not really had anyone over to be able to enjoy it with us. It was really nice to be able to have friends over and be a hostess for them. At my old place in Mountain View, because of it's prime location it was home for study groups, parties, pre-gaming before going out, and girl nights. I realize I quite enjoy being the hostess and since moving to Oakland, haven't had the opportunity until now.

3. Prior to our friends coming over I was in charge of cleaning/cooking inside, as J had to tackle the ever-so-daunting task of replacing the heater-core (cord?) ...I don't know I'm vehicle incompetent. Regardless, major car stuff needed to be addressed which left me inside to tend to the house. This included sweeping/mopping/dusting/scrubbing the entire house and preparing appetizers and dinner sides and entrees. So, to make this more enjoyable I busted out my '80's Ladies' playlist which consists of Janet, Paula, and Madonna Only the stuff they made in the 80's though, of course) and I proceeded to dance and sing while performing all above mentioned tasks. This left me with a bit of a workout and very clean house with delicious food, and of course an elevated mood because who doesn't enjoy rocking out to those gals, I mean really?

4. Went out Saturday night to celebrate a friend's birthday. It consisted of going out dancing, which J is not into the whole club scene and I can only take it in small doses (ie if I get to drink and dance). Luckliy, Saturday I got to do both and J was such a good sport about it, which made it that much better. I absolutely love dancing (obviously... 2 out of my 5 things on this list this week involve shaking my groove thing) and love when I have an opportunity to go out with friends, have a good time and DANCE DANCE DANCE!

5. So J decided we needed to invest in a gaming system. He bought a handheld (but can be hooked up the the TV) unit for Super Nintendo. He also purchased some games, including Super Mario World. To say that this took up most of my time in youth would be an understatement. Now, it's no Zelda (now THAT is my game!) but I definitely spent a lot of my childhood wrapped up in Mario's worlds.
When it arrived in the mail last week, we spent about 2 hours straight playing, until I realized how horrible I am at the game now and gave up. J's been playing all weekend and although I can't compete anymore, it's still enjoyable to watch. Although, really...I think we need to get Zelda. J is not a fan of it but that game, that is the love of my life and I've yet to actually ever beat the entire game (Hmm... I do believe I'm adding that to my bucket list).

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 13: March 25th-31st. Easter and I'm running again!

Spring break is over, although I can't actually remember any sort of break. I still had a  class (we were making up from a missed one) and I still went into Practicum, woke up at 4am, saw clients, and had supervision. I still had to work on my dissertation. Where was the break exactly? New quarter starts tomorrow.

Oh also, no practicum interviews, still. No rejections either, but I think lack of interviews at this point pretty much insinuates rejections. Waiting, waiting, still waiting. At this point I'm just waiting for rejection confirmation, which is a little ridiculous.

My 5 things:

1. I went running. Not once, not twice, but THREE times this past week. Yes, 3 times! While that used to be the norm for me (and is probably a slow week for most runners) it was definitely something I haven't done in a very, very long time. Needless to say, I'm pretty proud of this. Granted, the running wasn't anything spectacular, I did interval running (run 1 min, walk 1 min) and did about 20 total minutes (so 10 of each) but, it was running!

2. I got to talk with one of my closest friends, Lis on the phone. She and I try to keep in touch but it is usually ends up as sporadic texts on various days and then an email every couple of months. It doesn't help that there is a time difference, she's in Hawai'i so for half the year she's 3 hours behind and the other half she's 2 hours behind. This week we actually got to have a phone conversation, with some very important news. She was accepted (with funding!) to ASU for grad school! I am so very proud of her. Also, I like the idea of having her a 10 hour drive or a less than 2 hour plane ride away from me.

3. I did yoga twice this week. That totals out to 5 workouts this last week. Damn that feels good.

4. I skyped with my family when they had their Easter on Saturday at my dad's house. I got to watch the kids barrel out of the house on their hunt for eggs and watch them run around with their baskets. I got to see the faces of those I love so much and to see the beautiful weather they were having.
My dad and sister showing off their great weather
This was actually pretty bittersweet. This is now the 7th year I've been apart from my family for Easter. This holiday just always happens to fall at a time of year I'm not able to go home. It was also the first major holiday I was away from my family when I first moved away, right after everything went to shit with my family. Which is likely why it seems especially hard, even for the 7th year in a row. So although I wasn't able to be there in person, I'm thankful I got to be a small part of it.

5. I led, well I co-lead my first ever therapy group this week. It is a women's group that myself and another counselor have formed at the methadone clinic. It was actually originally her thing, she sent out an email stating she'd be starting one and I contacted her about co-leading (since I didn't have any group therapy hours under my belt). I was nervous, and there were definitely parts about it that could have gone better, but either way, I've now completed my first group. We're going to be doing it weekly through the month of April and we may continue, depending on how the month goes. Should be interesting!