UW-Madison Internship Update

As I was looking through my previous blog posts the other day, I had the realization that I haven’t been really blogging about my current internship experience at UW-Madison. A quick reminder of my internship: career counseling at the College of Letters & Science Career Services office at UW-Madison. We serve approximately 17,000 of the 40,000+ students that attend the University. My internship experience is for the academic year (September-May) and will contain at least 600 total hours of work (with 240 hours being in direct contact with students). I average about 20 hours a week in the office with at least 10 of those hours in appointments with students.

Due to some supervision changes at the beginning of the semester, my internship got off to a bit of a slow start. I definitely had a few moments of realization that a part of me had approached this internship as something to get through rather than an amazing learning experience.  After a somewhat difficult conversation with my new supervisor, I regrouped and put my priorities into a better place. Since October, I have tried to embrace every day that I have in Madison as an opportunity to learn something new (about myself, students, counseling, resources, etc.).

Thankfully, my appointments keep filling and the students are showing up. Some students have very specific questions such as critiquing a resume or looking over a personal statement for graduate school. However, most students say that they don’t know what they want to do with the rest of their lives and are graduating in (insert semester here). Some students are in a complete panic and others are a bit more calm. For me, it’s a joy to get to know the students and to help them figure out what they actually want they want to be as a “grown up.” Sometimes if a student isn’t giving me a lot to work with, I’ll ask them what they had hoped to gain by meeting with me. This generally helps guide the session. For some students, all they need is one visit to really get going with whatever they are working on (resume, job/internship search, grad school applications, etc.). For others, their career counseling experience will very much happen as a process and they’ll need to come back to see me to make some solid progress on their presenting issue. I have been loving the students who come back to see me. It has been great to see what progress they’ve made since our last meeting and to figure out with them what is the next step. Building a solid relationship with a student can be so rewarding. I hope that the work that I’m doing is helping them feel more connected to what is such a large University.

At this point in the semester, I am close to wrapping up the hours required for the first half of the year. I’ll be taking winter break off to relax and reboot for my final semester of grad school. One of my goals from here on out is to have more posts that are reflecting on my internship (along with photography, travels, grad school, and everything else fun). Next semester, I’ll also add some fun to the blog by writing about my job search since I am graduating in May!

View of the State Capital building from the top of Bascom Hill on UW-Madison’s Campus.

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