Friday, February 7, 2014

Mi Vida Loca

I'm in my Masters program for my Masters degree in psychology.

I'm learning to be a mental health counselor.  I've got 21 weeks left to graduate.

I'm currently interning at a mental hospital.  That environment for mental health is TOUGH.  You think talking to someone who is depressed is tough?  Okay, fine.  Now try doing it when they have schizophrenia, paranoia, cognitive gaps and psychosis.

Anyways, I've hated my school.  I've had some super crazy whacko teachers whose emotional instability was just something to behold.  I've been through classes that extorted confessions of my own deeply suppressed, genetically motivated white racism.

My first day with my advisor, I was basically threatened that she was the gatekeeper to anything that comes after and I have to get past her (yes, that was said) and I've also been told now I'm "odd."

Well...depends on who you're comparing me too.

I prefer not to think of myself as odd so much as.....AWESOME!

Anyways, I'm "odd" for a psychologist/counselor - not that they aren't weird anyways.

Oh, did you know two of our psyche department professors committed suicide recently? Another of our school directors was just arrested on sex-offender charges and they announced it via email to all the students.

Anyways...I've hated this school.

Unfortunately, once you're in a Masters program, it isn't like a community college where you just go to a different one and take classes.  The programs are start-to-finish, lock-step and very structured and usually take 2 years to get into.

I was in.

And I hated it.

And wanted out. 

I wondered if I was fit for this field.  I felt very out of place among my peers.   I'm one of 5 males out of 48 students, and got invited for fun to go to a strip club with a bunch of single women for beers.  That was just a note....I don't hang out.  I don't enjoy those things.  I'm a family guy.  I got kids.  I'm at home.  I work to live, I don't live to work and then gripe about it so I can get drunk to survive it and go back to it and hate it some more.

Yah.....

Well, anyways.  I kind of ended up in the line of fire early on, and I just decided to lay low.

Great.  I made it to my internship!   I don't feel confident in this field.  I'm not.  Especially not with this learning curve.

Got my evaluations for my internship, talked with them about them, got them touched up a bit, first semester down, two to go, good to go, all's well.

Not so fast.

They looked at my evals.

They were way too high.

Phone calls were  made.  Emails exchanged.  Next thing I know, I'm told my evaluations are being graded down.  Down down down.

Then I get told they are almost done with it.

Now they are done. 

Then I get told to sign them.

No input, no interview, just that.  Sign here.

I looked at the review.  It wasn't even accurate.  Okay....sensitive environment, don't pitch a fit, sign here....doesn't say I agree, just says I signed.....

I asked my advisor who I don't really like if we could meet.   Sure!  Suddenly people are impressed with my professionalism.

Then I get an email from the psychology president and am told I'm being reviewed to be put on "warning" status at the University.  I might not graduate unless I improve my scores if they change it.

What the heck.

I meet with my advisor.  Ask her what her role in this is.  No answer.  She tells me not to get downhearted that my status has changed.

"Has changed?"

"I mean...is being reviewed for change."

The fact that my status has changed doesn't mean I need to freak out, it means we need to work more closely together.

Again, me: "Wait....HAS changed?"

"I mean....is being reviewed for change."

"What's your role in this...."

Subject changed again.

Anyways, now I'm told that everyone's optimistic I'm going to pass, but they are going to cover their butts and change me to a warning status just to protect themselves legally.

Well....I did document via email that my evals aren't even correct and they did all this without talking to the one person who should have been a part of it.

No answer back.

So I was told by my supervisor he will go up against the system in my behalf and make sure I pass.  Meanwhile, I'm ticked off still I have to go through this.  I'm up for finishing my last letter of recommendation, am in the pipeline for jobs and I got an inaccurate review and now when I call for jobs my university's going to say I'm on warning status????  yah, that helps with the job outlook.

Oh, but don't worry!  Let's look at this positively!

Riiigh.   And if I pitch a fit, in the psyche field, that means I'm defensive and not accepting feedback.

Meanwhile, the phone conversations continue without me and behind my back and I get told via the telephone game, my advisor is going to recommend on Wednesday that my status be formally changed.

FOR WHAT????  THE REVIEWS ARENT EVEN CORRECT!!!!!

It's to protect them.

FROM WHATTTT?????

The feedback is brutal for me.  I'm eccentric.  I'm....a lot of things.  I don't know how I made it this far.  And the hits just keep on coming.  It's almost best not to talk. 

Well....but by the grace of God.

But I don't fit in.  I'm learning not to talk.  Don't explain anything.  Just do it.  That's not me.  Smile at people and say hi to strangers.

Meanwhile....well...I guess nobody cares if you hang out with 40 single women as a married guy at a strip club as a bunch of drunk psychologists where you can run into your clients who see you in their offtime. 

That's not the important part.   That's normal behavior.

Oh, I was querried as to whether I hang out with my classmates as an assessment of my normal behavior and fit in the field.

If there was a godless profession....well besides the porn industry.....I'm in it. (I'm not in the porn industry, I'm in the mental health field, I'm saying that's Godless, not porn.  Well, porn's Godless too, but....whatever, you get my point.)

Anyways, this is horrible.  It isn't fun.  All I got to do is bring my scores up.  I'm doing that.  I'm even challenging supervisors like I never have before and calling them up and going "what the hell?"

One of my classmates got put on probation at the school by my advisor that if he (according to him) says anything anyone considers controversial he's up for expulsion.   How the heck does that work in the field of psychology????  How do you work???  One of the girls wore a "planned parenthood" T-shirt, and he noted, "If I wore that....I'd be expelled."  My classmate has a Ph.D. from UC Berkley and is very smart.  One of the most brilliant people I've ever worked with.

And....my school is Ivy League (or something like it - sister to an Ivy League - whatever - very prestigious and very well known) and I'm all - this is the worst experience of my life.

Anyways, I'm just taking it from all sides.  My father's died since I've been here.  I've only just learned how to cope with my wife having MD.  This is a lot.  And I feel like I don't know anything and am not very good at what I'm trying to learn to do.  And that I don't fit in.  And I have to bend over and take it.  And if I don't make it, we are in over our head with a VERY expensive education and nothing to show for it if I don't make it.

And so....I pray. 

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