psychology internship

Cover letters: DOs and DON'Ts

So you want a job in psychology? The first part of any application, whether is for a practicum site, internship, or a real job, is the cover letter. It is essentially your introduction of who you are, why you want the job, and why you would be a good match. A cover letter can make or break your application. So… no pressure.

DO: Keep it structured

A cover letter should stick to the same basic structure:

  • Who are you are what position are you applying for?
  • What interests you about this position (include job responsibilities, training opportunities, specific populations you’ll work with, etc)
  • Why are you qualified for this position (include your training, experience, and unique skills)
  • A very brief conclusion. I always end with something like “I look forward to hearing from you,” because it makes the positive suggestion that they will contact me. You can totally borrow that.

DON’T: Make it too short or too long.

The above structure works because it flows and you can keep it to 1 or 2 pages. If your cover letter is less than a page, you’re probably leaving out some important details. If it’s longer than 2 pages, you might be rambling or including too much information.

DO: Personalize it to the site/organization

Communicate to the reader that you’ve done your homework and know what you’re applying for. Make sure that you address most (if not all) of the specifications provided on the job listing. If they want someone with experience with children, then make sure you tell them about your job at Smalltown Elementary. Explore more than just the “help wanted” ad: if they have a website, look it up! Making those personal connections will make them like you more, and they’ll go into the rest of your application with a positive attitude.

DON’T: Use a generic template

If you can send the exact same cover letter to multiple sites, you’re doing it wrong. And the reader can tell. This is especially important during the internship process, where you’re writing over a dozen cover letters, and they all start sounding the same. Include details specific to that job and that organization. What makes this site unique? What is unique about their location, their culture, the populations they work with? It shows that you are thorough, detail-oriented, and actually interested in that position, not just getting a job.

DO: Sell yourself!

The cover letter is a persuasive essay that aims to convince the reader to hire you. Do not be afraid to talk about the accomplishments or skills that set you apart from the rest. It might feel a bit like bragging, but if you present it in the context of meeting the needs of the job, then it’s appropriate.

DON’T: Write a one-sided argument

The focus of your letter shouldn’t be all about the job, or all about yourself. There should be a nice, symbiotic balance between their needs and your needs. What do you have to offer the site AND what does the site have to offer you? This is especially important when you’re still in training and you’re applying to practicum or internship sites. What are your goals? How can this job help you achieve those goals? Most applicants are so focused on trying to fit the requirements of the job that they don’t mention what they want. This will help you stand out.

ᴀ ᴅᴇᴍʏx/ᴢᴇxɪᴏɴ ғɪᴄ ʀᴇᴄ

Because obviously all the best ideas come before 8am, I decided to be brave and open fanfiction.net again to look for all my old favourite fics. I have no idea if these are as good as I remember or if memories simply grow sweeter with time.

The bolded ones are my absolute favourites. Also, if you have triggers I suggest you read with caution; it’s been years and honestly I can’t remember. Some of them include stuff like noncon/dubcon, gore, character death, mentions self-harm and suicide, abuse and violence. Hello I am trash.

Anyway, fics:

The Violet Room
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 13/?
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: T
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: drama, romance

While working a psychology internship, Myde is given the challenge of analyzing Ienzo, a mysterious patient who spends his days writing on the walls of his hospital room. But when the story of ‘Zexion’ and 'Demyx’ starts to sound familiar…

Lost and Found
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 9/9
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: T
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: romance

I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry, Demyx. I’m a joke, a fraud, a phony. I don’t know how it all happened; I hadn’t meant for it to. I found a notebook on the bus, I read it, I became hopelessly obsessed. It wasn’t something I’d meant to go so far.

Silence is Golden
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 9/9
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: T
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: romance

When Demyx goes to college, he wants to learn and get his degree. He doesn’t want to have a roommate who refuses to speak, a drifter who decides to live in his room, or fall in love. Too bad what Demyx wants is not what Demyx gets.

Tainted But Beautiful
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 32/32
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: M
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: supernatural, romance

Axel is a powerful vampire slayer who’s captured Zexion, a vampire, as his pet. What Axel doesn’t bargain on is Demyx, his former student, developing a strong attraction to Zexion…

*I’m pretty sure this one has almost every trigger warning mentioned above.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 1/1
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: T
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: humor, romance

After a slightly traumatising encounter, Demyx fears his gaydar to be broken. So he comes up with a new way of identifying gay people. By selling perfume.

The Laws of Motion
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 3/3
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: T
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: humor, romance

Demyx is all about graduating without ever stepping foot inside the band room, but that’s out the window faster than you can say “HUT” when he sees that gray-haired drummer. It may be social suicide, but it’s also the boy of his dreams.

Razorblade Shine
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 18/18
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: M
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: romance, hurt/comfort

After Zexion’s brother dies, Demyx is what little consolation he has left.

*self-harm tw

Dear Diary
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 1/1
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: T
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: friendship, romance

I started my blog in sophomore year of high school. During the three years that I actively wrote, only one person ever commented on my posts. I fell in love with this formless, anonymous individual. I'm such a fool.

Keys and Kissing
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 22/22
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: M
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: mystery, romance

Demyx is your average rookie detective, hoping to make a difference, but what happens when a new murderer emerges and Twilight Town’s only hope lies within the hands of a convicted killer? 

You’re My Guitar Hero, Sort Of
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 8/8
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: M
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: romance, hurt/comfort

Demyx is the resident bully and Zexion is your typical teenager being bullied…sorta. When Zexion is given a chance to escape it all, does he take it?

D says Z says
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 7/7
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: M
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: friendship, romance

They met in the most unlikely of places. YouTube. A comment left, a friendship started…But will they ever meet?

Trains and Sewing Machines
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 21/21
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: M
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: romance, tragedy

Somewhere in the distance, a train blew its whistle. He made the puppets dance. When you’re dying, hope is all that’s left.

Pants 'R’ Us
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 1/1
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: T
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: humor, romance

Demyx, an up-and-coming rock star, has tons of adoring fans. But he doesn’t seem to care about his personal safety, so his best friends Axel and Roxas decide to put a stop to Demyx’s carefree attitude towards his fans. By hiring a…stalker?

It Started With A Deceased Fish
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 1/1
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: M
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: romance

Zexion is bored at work one day when his most regular customer comes in looking for a coffin…for a fish! Will he be able to comfort Demyx after the loss?

Journey To Water’s Edge
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 2/2
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: M
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: drama, fantasy

Prince Zexion must travel to a lost water temple in order to end the worse drought the kingdom has ever seen. Along the way, he learns a lot about the minstrel who is his guide, but more about himself.

Well, You Know
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 1/1
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: T
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: romance

In which Zexion represses a lot and Demyx is vaguely suggestive. And then there is much in the way of cliched stupidity.

One Day More
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 5/5
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: T
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: drama, romance

In a school where secretaries are whores, principals try to molest students, excited blonds are incapable of coming out of the closet, and the counselor is kissing the choir teacher… who knew the fall musical would be a success?

*that summary… leaves a lot to be desired. idk like i said i haven’t read these in years.

Wonderwall / the rewritten version
ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀs: 18/18 / 13/13
ʀᴀᴛᴇᴅ: M
ɢᴇɴʀᴇs: romance, adventure / romance, drama

The Org has taken over the Islands and the only way for Axel, Roxas, Sora and Riku to take them down is by making Demyx befriend #6. Demyx isn’t too jolly about being the key…

Darkness is only the absence of light. For Zexion, Number Six in the Organization, there is no light until he meets the eccentric music store owner, Demyx. But is Demyx the key to unraveling the Organization’s control over the Islands? And can the agents of the Lustitia keep him safe long enough for him to save Zexion?

*heavy breathing because i had no idea there was a new version bYE

Moving and internship

I’ve recently moved to finish my last year of my masters in school psych. I’m in a county positions which means I manage many different schools and work with mostly severe to profoundly disabled children. Part of my position also includes kindergarten transitions and work within juvenile hall. I see this adventure as a challenge, but also an opportunity to grow.

And my whole team is very supportive, I’m so thankful.

Ps. I start in July instead of August now, so that’s a change!

A Grad Student's Guide to Burnout

What is burnout?

Burnout is an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion (physical, emotional, or psychological) and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job performance.

(Unfortunately, it doesn’t look that cool)

Burnout symptoms

Lack of motivation, having a negative attitude about work or school, feeling sad or easily irritated, having low energy, and not feeling invested or interested in your work are all common symptoms. As grad students, we have to wear a lot of hats, so burnout might look differently in different areas. For example, burnout in your clinical work might be when you’re too invested in your work, or you feel that you can’t maintain the boundaries between practicum and the rest of your life. Maybe you find it’s much more difficult to leave your caseload at work, or you’re becoming too emotionally attached to your clients. Dissertation burnout? Perhaps you avoid reading emails from your advisor, or you get really anxious whenever you have to start writing.

What causes burnout?

Lots of factors can contribute to burnout. Chronically high stress, working at a job you don’t enjoy, being in a position you aren’t qualified for, lacking social support (especially from a supervisor, advisor, or peers), taking on more responsibilities than you can manage, or working for a long time without a break or vacation are just a few.

Strategies to prevent burnout

  • Self care! Get adequate sleep, maintain a healthy diet, and get some sort of exercise. But don’t forget about emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Try to have a fun hobby outside of school. Devote part of every day to just relaxing. Grad school is also a great time to do your own therapy.
  • Maintain your boundaries. When you’re at school, focus on school. When you’re at practicum, focus on your clinical work. Homework is unavoidable, but try not to take your clinical work home with you. A ritual that worked for me: I allowed myself to reflect on my experience at prac during my drive home. Once I got home, I took off my dress clothes and put away my thoughts/worries about practicum. Of course, you can still talk about some of those experiences with friends, peers, partners as a method of processing. But try not to let one aspect of your life consume more than it’s fair share of your energy.
  • Know your limits. We are challenged every day in grad school, whether it’s with assignments or clients. Learn to recognize what your capable of and know when you need to ask for help. There are lots of opportunities available in grad school. That doesn’t mean you need to take up every single one. Learn when to say not now and when to say no.

  • Find support. That can be other people in your program, your advisor, your family, and your friends. My best friend doesn’t understand my program at all, but she still listens to my rants about frustrating professors or difficult clients, and usually that’s all I need. Know what you need from your support system and learn ways to ask for it. And develop a good relationship with your supervisor. You will probably learn more from your supervisors than anyone else in your grad school career.
  • Remember your purpose. Obviously, we don’t have to like everything about grad school. Writing papers can be monotonous, classes can get boring, and there will be clients you aren’t overly fond of. But keep your goal in mind. What are you trying to learn? Why are you in this program? What is your passion? If you can keep your goal in mind, you can endure anything,

Today one of my clients asked me if it was okay to force someone out of their lives, even if they’re family. I refrained from telling my client what they should do. It’s not my job to give advice or make decisions, I’m there to help them process and gain perspective. I told them that it was important, in any relationship, for them to look at how they are being affected by it. I shared how sometimes even family members can be toxic and hurt us. I reminded them that no relationships are perfect, that they take work, but at the end of the day, your health and wellbeing come first. I told her I understood and that this was a difficult thing to contemplate. She looked at me, nodded, and just said very softly “Thank you so much, Amanda. Just thank you.” Days like today remind me why I chose to go into this field.