Monday, March 24, 2014

We regret to inform you...

Despite that "Plan C" being in place, the abrupt crumbling of Plan B when I got the news this morning:
"We regret to inform you that you did not match"... still hit me like a hulk-powered punch to the gut.

This means I'm in CA for another year, have to go through the entire process again, including the outrageous application costs. What's worse, is having to go through that process feeling completely discouraged, disheartened, beat up, and tossed around like a tattered, one-eyed teddy bear getting shuffled around the toy bin while the other shiny new toys get chosen.

In reality, I likely needed this time since I've been completely slacking on my dissertation, although I only put it on the back burner because I was so determined to get an internship. I could have just focused this time on my dissertation in the first place and saved myself a ton of money, time, energy, and could have approached internship applications with at least a bit more confidence than I am currently feeling. Not to mention, feeling this way is giving me zero motivation to work on said dissertation, despite the importance of it.

I mean, there is no sense in playing the "what if" game with myself. I am stuck where I'm stuck and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Except put on a smile and pretend I'm not feeling completely worthless so that no one else has to feel awkward or uncomfortable around me and blurt out how "everything will be ok" and how "it will all work out"... as though I actually think the earth will swallow me up in this moment and my life would end.

I also know I'm not alone. I think the stats said there are about 360 of us that were not matched in Phase II. I'm not sure that helps anything, knowing that the system is set up to make a portion of us to fail, and that I happen to just fall in that section. Leaves me feeling rather hopeless actually. I'd prefer it was something I did, or did not do so that I could improve. Instead, I just have to wait and play the game once more where the odds are not in my favor and chance that I could again, be a part of those unfortunate statistics through no fault of my own. 

We are driving up north this week. Sort of an impromptu trip we decided a couple weeks ago for a long weekend. Part of me thinks this is exactly what I need in this moment; to be with family, to be home. That other, louder part of my mind, thinks it is just going to be a painful reminder of what I am missing out on for even longer because of this frustrating internship shortage problem.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Plan A, B, and C

Here I sit... and I wait.
Rankings have been turned in and now I just sit and wait for my fate to be decided for me.
At least we only have to wait 1 week this time. Phase I we had to wait for what felt like forever (in real time about 2 weeks).

Since Plan A (Phase I) did not work out, and Plan B (Phase II) is not looking too bright either, I needed to come up with a Plan C. Unfortunately, Plan C involves staying here in CA another year, and putting my life on hold for one more year which... sucks. Needless to say, Plan C needed some glitter and gold in order to make it not seem so bleak. Besides staying here, getting some sort of practicum something or other (even though practicum apps were already due last I would need to get creative), I would be able to finish my dissertation and possibly even defend before I finally left for internship. While that is all well and good (except, it sucks) it was lacking any excitement and was merely practical. Enter the Golden Goose. It was J's idea actually. He said that if I didn't get an internship this year, we should do a road trip. Not just any road trip, but an all over the map type of trip including Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, etc. We'd be able to visit loved ones along the way and get to see amazing sites like the Grand Canyon. I mean, there will be no glitz or glam on this trip. We're a broke couple with a dog, and will likely spend most night sleeping in the truck, but it will be an adventure.
The more I think about it, I am realizing it will not be the end of the world if I don't get an internship. It will feel like it for awhile, but I know rationally, that it will not be the end of me. 10 years from now, I will look back and think "see, if I left for internship (fill in the blank) would never have happened". The thing is though, right now, I cannot look back with 10 years of reflection, I do not have the hindsight to appreciate this moment and sitting in this moment right now I feel terrible. I feel like a failure, idiot, imposter who has finally be found out. I feel like I am not good enough. I shouldn't feel this way, the system is what is broken, not me. They've got 4,000 students applying for 3,000 positions. It is set up for failure (for some) and I just happen to be one.

I guess what is getting to me, is that I have been in school now for...11 years. Granted, in those 11 years I've managed to earn an AA, BA, and an MS... but man, 11 YEARS already? If I have to wait another year, that will mean it will take me 13 years to earn my Ph.D. (well, 6 since it took me 6 to get my BA), but damn. I take the term "professional student" to a whole other level. The kicker here, is that there are people in my program who are going to have their Ph.D. and be the same age I was when I started my Ph.D. program. Really a lot of this boils down to being a female, approaching 30 and still in school. There are biological clocks and societal mantras blaring like tsunami warnings in my brain every waking hour and I am supposed to just "wait another year". That is really the bottom of all this disappointment.

I'm not even sure where I am going with this post anymore. (well, besides crazy, HA!)

Monday, March 10, 2014

I'll learn to be positive, even if it kills me.

Here I am, in Phase II feeling like I've been here before with only one interview (and we know how well that turned out!). Everything riding on this one interview that has a snowball's chance in hell of working out.

I got some feedback today from the site I interviewed at during Phase I. They were very kind, knowing that I am dealing with Phase II now and said some wonderful things about me. They said I was a strong candidate, they saw nothing in my application or interview that was of concern, that they ranked me highly but that the slots were filled before they got to my name.

Initially I felt really great about this feedback. "Good news! You did NOTHING wrong! You're awesome" ...GREAT! But then I thought, well do I improve? How do I make myself better than I am, when there's nothing really wrong with me? It would be one thing if the said "you need to work on X" or "you should talk more about Y" in your interviews...but hearing I was that close to having a placement, for it to just not work out because there was just 1 too many people better than me for whatever reason, is really frustrating.

I had my one and only interview today. It was only 20 minutes, informal discussion about the program and I was only asked one question: Why this site? 
It's difficult enough to make yourself memorable over the phone (which I apparently did for my last interview) when you have an hour and they're asking you multiple questions.
But 20 minutes? and one question? How on earth do I do anything with that? I did what I could, I think it went alright but I also know that I am competing against a LOT of people for this internship so outlook not so good say my magic eight ball.

I started thinking last night, about positive affirmations. I am such a negative person, although I prefer to call myself a realist, most would label me a "pessimist". Optimism and I are just not friends. I hate the idea of getting my hopes up, only to have them come crashing down on me. Granted, this whole realist sham I have going does not actually shield me from all pain of disappointment, I still feel it often and still deal with heartbreak, frustration, and anger about things...BUT I have a feeling it would be much worse if I filled my head with unrealistic expectations.
I also have to realize, as a psychologist in training, the power of negative self-talk and what it does to a person's self worth. (nothing good, that's for sure). What I also have to realize is the power of positive self-talk and what it does to a person's self worth.
Additionally, despite being an intellectual, I am also somewhat (ok, very) superstitious and a believer in the universe, fate, whatever it is that rules us playing into things.
That being said, on the eve of my one and only interview in Phase II I began looking into positive affirmations. It took awhile to find any I could actually say aloud without feeling like a total phony. I decided, after a number of rounds of talking to myself that I'd write them out on post-its and place them in various spots around my house.
There were as follows:

"I accept that there will be challenges when pursing my goals. I have the knowledge and ability to overcome anything in my path."

"I have just as much brightness to offer the world as the next person." 

"I matter and what I have to offer the world matters too."