All the Feels: Sundays are for Reflecting

When I began this blog (almost a year ago…holy!) I wanted it to be a very honest and real description and interpretation of my journey through the child life process(es). This has been the most incredible rollercoaster ride I have ever been on. I have fallen in love with the “ups” and have learned to appreciate the “downs”. I am full of emotions this evening.

The phrase “everything happens for a reason” has never been more applicable than it has been this past month.

After being accepted to intern at a hospital in Florida, I was thrilled. I was receiving emails from people who were shocked that I received an offer on my first try at applying for internships and as an independent intern…this made me more shocked too. I knew how competitive it was, but some of these messages made me feel a little bad; hearing about people that have applied 2 or more times and still haven’t received even an interview. I was never sure how to respond to these messages. I wasn’t sure what I did or said or experienced that made me be successful in securing an position (and honestly, I’m still not really sure).

Florida is very far from where I live in Ontario and I was going to have to move there for nearly four months. There was a lot to get taken care of and I was incredibly overwhelmed. I was so thrilled and proud but beyond nervous and scared to take that jump. It took a little while after I officially accepted my offer to feel confident in my decision. Not because I wasn’t confident in my skills or happy with the hospital itself, I was just scared. Because of my fear, it did take me a while to come to terms with my decision….and just when I felt comfortable with my decision, I received an interview from a CANADIAN hospital and I became even more overwhelmed! How could this be happening?! This is incredible, but what do I DO?! I did some research on the hospital itself to learn a little more about what they offer and actually learned that this particular hospital does not receive or deal with any oncology patients or cases. This is an awesome hospital that does really great work, but working with oncology patients was something I needed to experience. How could I say I want a job in oncology some day but have zero clinical experience in that area?! At the internship in Florida I was guaranteed oncology in addition to every other unit where child life was present. I decided I needed to draw the line somewhere, and told the Canadian hospital that I appreciated being considered for an interview, but had accepted another offer.

On July 20th I was contacted by the child life team at the hospital in Florida, and was told they wouldn’t be able to sponsor my Visa, and were therefore going to withdraw my offer. I was so crushed. Should I have accepted my other offer (from another US hospital)? Should I have interviewed with the Canadian hospital?? Do I apply for the master’s program at McMaster for the following year to make internship-hunting easier and get my Master’s? Do I apply for internships again in January?! I quit my job and all of my volunteering, and moved back home to get ready to move to Florida…what do I do now?! My mind was spinning at a million miles a minute and I had no clue what to do.

I decided to message a good friend of mine, also in child life (at McMaster University). I didn’t know what to do, or who to talk to who would really understand my frustration with this process in a child life-specific mindset. She suggested contacting someone in an alternate setting (i.e., private practice) and immediately our minds went to the amazing Morgan Livingstone. I emailed her on July 21st, and by July 27th the wheels were turning.

On August 17th I flew with her to Kenya.

There are no words to describe how grateful I am to be here and to be given this opportunity. I have no idea what I have done to have been able to experience this, but I will be forever grateful. I am so so honoured.

As you can see, my path has not been anywhere near straight; but rather, incredibly windy, with big hills, and even bigger drops. But here I am. I am in Kenya for two weeks (week 1, complete!) and will be finishing my internship with Morgan in her private practice in Toronto.

Surreal.

Tomorrow, I will be working in the NICU which I am super excited for! Child life in the NICU is still a relatively new-ish concept even in North America, so I am very excited to have the chance to work in this environment.

We have had a very long but very fun weekend over here! Yesterday we went on a safari and we spent this afternoon swimming at a hotel pool near by. And, of course, in between all the fun and adventure has been nothing but child life. We are working really hard over here – practically nonstop, and there is still so much we would like to accomplish in the short time we are here.

Thank you to anyone that took the time to read this long, and really scramble-y post 🙂 my mind is filled with so many thoughts right now, I am trying to get them all organized.

It is shortly after 9:30pm here in Kenya and I am honestly considering turning in…but of course, there is still work to be done! So, if anyone needs me, I will be reading up on encouraging verbal communication in babies who have experienced malnourishment and neglect.

Sweet dreams.

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