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Internship

I pulled up to my new apartment many hours later and stopped at the main office to collect my keys and fill out the rest of the paperwork that I needed for the seven month lease that I needed to get me through my internship. It is set to end by the middle of December, but I am leasing through the end of the year so I don’t have to rush to get out and go back home.

After being shown my apartment, which is luckily on the first floor, I started bringing in the bags and boxes that I had in my car. Since it was late, I wasn’t going to try to bring in the furniture at this time. I did pull out a sleeping bag and I guess I’m sleeping on the floor tonight.

The next morning, I got as much out of the trailer as I could by myself and managed to get some help from a neighbor to bring in the bed, couch and other heavier furniture. I thanked him by taking him out for a late breakfast, where he told me about the other neighbors and about the area.

After breakfast, Brayden headed back home while I took the trailer to the local U-Haul shop to turn it in. I then stopped at a grocery store and proceeded to get everything I needed. I got home and took the groceries in and put them away.

I looked around my one-bedroom apartment and had to decide where to start. It was going to be a long afternoon, but I knew I had to do it right away as I start my internship on Monday and only had today and tomorrow to work on it.

I turned on my playlist, cranked the volume to a manageable setting and started in the kitchen since I was already there. I moved to the living room, then bedroom and finally ended in the bathroom.

I grabbed a light supper and watched a little TV from the comfort of my couch. Cable came with the apartment, so all I had to do was hook up the cables and it was set to go. Same with the internet, which was really nice. Next thing I know, the sun was shining in through the windows waking me up Sunday morning.

I looked at my phone and saw that I had several texts from my mom and from Stacy. I realized I had never let either of them know that I made it to St. Paul and after reading their texts, they were worried about me and thought something had happened. Instead of replying to them, I called them both up in a group video chat.

“Sarah, oh my God, are you alright? Did you make it to St. Paul? Why didn’t you call,” Stacy started out before I could even say ‘hello.’

“Stacy, Mom…I’m fine. I got in late Friday night and after unpacking my car, I went to bed. Yesterday was crazy after finishing unpacking, take the trailer back and getting groceries. I never thought of calling, I’m sorry.”

“We were worried when we didn’t from you Sarah. I’m glad you are OK. Have you gotten everything put away and settled?” Mom asked.

“Yes, I’m getting there. I just have a couple of things to put away, but finished pretty much everything last night. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep on the couch.”

“When do you start at the hospital?” Stacy asked.

“Tomorrow at 8:00 sharp. I have to meet with the supervisor and go through the outline and do some facility training the first few days, and then we will see what I have to do. I probably won’t be seeing anyone alone for quite awhile, but we’ll see.”

“You’ll do a wonderful job, sweetie. I have faith in you. Remember, if you need anything or need to talk, I’m always here for you.” Mom said.

“That goes for me too Sarah. I’m home most of the time with the girls, so I’d love to hear from you and have a normal adult conversation once in awhile,” Stacy chuckled over the phone.

“I promise I will call the both of you. I love you Mom…I love you Stacy.”

“Love you too Sarah and Mom” Stacy replied.

“Love you both,” Mom said. “Bye for now.”

“Bye Mom. Bye Stacy.” I waved at them both before ending the call.

I got up and went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth and took a shower before getting dressed. I then came to the kitchen to grab something to eat for breakfast. It was really weird being here by myself after sharing a place with three other girls for two years. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.

Since the weather looked nice, I decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood. I grabbed my purse and keys, locked up and began my walk. I didn’t make it far when I heard Brayden holler at me from his balcony. He lives in the apartment above mine.

“Hey Sarah, where you going?”

“I’m going for a walk,” I hollered back up at him.

“Want any company?”

“I guess. Don’t you have anything else to do?”

“Nope, I’m good to go,” he smirked. “Wait there, I’ll be right down.”

A few seconds later he was at my side. “You didn’t have to run,” I laughed as he was catching his breath.

“Have you gotten all settled in?” He asked as we began walking down the sidewalk.

“Yeah I am. I don’t have a lot of stuff, so it wasn’t too bad.”

“So how long are you planning on staying here,” he asked.

“Until December or so, why do you ask?”

“No reason really. Most people don’t seem to stick around that long around here.”

“Why is that?” I asked with curiosity.

“Not really sure, I’ve never asked,” he laughed.

“So how long have you lived here and how long do you plan on staying here?” I asked.

“I’ve been here three years and have no plan on leaving anytime soon.”

“Do you work around here?”

“At the school around the corner,” he nodded as we headed in that direction.

“You are a teacher, huh?”

“Fourth and fifth grade…call me Mr. Michaels. This is my first teaching gig and it’s been fun so far.” He continued, “What about you? Do you work around here?”

“I’m actually starting an internship at the hospital not too far from here. It’s a six-month program and then I plan on heading back home to work at a hospital there.”

“Cool, what are you going to be doing?”

“Music Therapy,” I answered.

“Sweet, what instruments to you play? My sister has been seeing a music therapist for a long time due to her autism and she loves playing the guitar.”

“I also play the guitar, but my primary instrument was the violin. I also play piano, sing and write from time to time. Sorry to hear about your sister, but I’m glad she is enjoying her therapy.”

“Don’t be sorry. She’s embraced her disability and she and her therapist actually speak at conferences or motivate others with autism. She is pretty high functioning, but the music has really helped her in so many ways.”

“That is really neat to hear. I love what I have done so far as a student, so I’m excited about this transition into a career.”

We continued walking for another hour or so before coming back to the apartments. He showed me a few places nearby to shop at, eat at and the school he works at. Brayden is pretty cool and we got along pretty easily. I said ‘goodbye’ and headed inside.

The rest of the day, I finished unpacking everything else I had left, ate dinner and watch a little more TV. I turned on my laptop to see if I had any updates from my new supervisor about this week and I didn’t. I did have a few emails from some of my friends which I responded to. I then went onto Facebook and got caught up on all the gossip.

I turned in early after setting my alarm and plugging my phone into the charger. I had a hard time falling asleep as I was excited, yet a little nervous about this new journey.

I awoke to my alarm and got out of bed. I took a shower and got dressed in a business casual outfit. I ate breakfast and made a lunch to take with me. I know they have a restaurant at the hospital, but I didn’t know what my schedule was going to look like, so I wanted to have something with me just in case. I grabbed my purse and headed to my car after locking up.

I arrived at the hospital a little earlier than I needed to be there. I found a parking spot in the lot I was told to go to and headed to the main entrance. I announced myself and asked for my supervisor and was told to have a seat until she arrived.

About fifteen minutes later, I heard my name called and looked up to see my supervisor, Angela, standing there. I stood up and shook her hand and followed her to her office which was on the lower level of the building.

“Welcome Sarah, it is wonderful to have you joining our team for the next six months,” Angela started as we entered her office. “Please have a seat.”

I took a seat in front of her desk and set my bags on the floor next to my chair. I grabbed a notebook from my purse and a pen in case I needed to take any notes or anything. “Thank you Angela for accepting me. I really look forward to my time here and hope to learn a lot from you and the team.”

Angela handed me a packet of papers and went through each one with me. Some were from the facility regarding policies and safety protocols; others were from the music therapist association regarding ethics and competencies and regulations for the internship; and more were regarding the six months I was going to spend here. I was a little overwhelmed at everything, but was assured that I didn’t have to read it all right away.

She proceeded to give me a tour of the hospital including the employee entrance and gave me my code to get into the building. I got my nametag as well. The place was very large and I knew I would get lost at least once or twice. When I told Angela that, she laughed a little and told me she did the same thing when she first started.

I met the other therapists on the team including other music therapists, art therapists, speech, physical and occupational therapists as well. She showed me the storage rooms, private therapy rooms and rehab gym. I was told I would do most of my sessions in the patient’s rooms and was given the protocol to follow for each area of the hospital.

The next few days I spent at the facility orientation program that all interns and new employees attend. There were several education modules to watch and review; we learned more about the history of the hospital; and so much more. There was so much to remember, but I was reminded over and over that I could always ask for help if needed.

On Friday, I spent the day shadowing Melissa, another music therapist as she went from session to session in the children’s wing. I really enjoyed watching her and seeing the children react as she pulled out the rhythm instruments or her guitar. She showed me how to document her sessions and some of her treatment plans.

By the time I left for the day, I was exhausted and I didn’t do that much. I was more emotionally and mentally drained more than physically, but I knew this would be all worth it in the end. One week down and five months and three weeks to go…

******

After arriving home that night, I ran into Brayden.

“Hey Sarah, how are you?”

“Hi Brayden, I’m exhausted and you?”

“I’m wonderful. It’s Friday and the weekend is here!” he said excitedly and I just smiled and shook my head at him. “What do you have planned for tonight?”

“Nothing…absolutely nothing,” I replied as I walked to my door.

“Come out with me and my friends, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind one more tagging along,” he smirked.

“Tagging along? You make it sound like I’m a third wheel.” I laughed.

“That’s not what I meant, but I would love to have you along.”

“Sure, why not,” I answered. “Let me go get changed.” I went inside and Brayden followed me in. “Wait here, I’ll be back in a minute.”

I came back out wearing a pair of skinny jeans, pink blouse and my dancing shoes. I swung my purse over my shoulder and told Brayden I was ready to go. I caught him staring at me and he coughed a little before leading me out of the apartment and to his car.

He drove to a club downtown and parked the car. He led me to the door and as we entered I heard some people calling his name. He took my hand and pulled me along with him and introduced me to his friends that were already there waiting for him.

“Nice to meet you Sarah,” a friend named Jessie said. “So, are you two together?” she asked Brayden and me.

“No,” I shook my head. “We are just friends,” I answered before he could say anything. He gave a little smile, but stayed quiet.

“Well, we are glad that you joined us,” another friend named Chris said and put his arm around my shoulders as he led me to a table. “What do you drink?”

“Beer is fine for me,” I answered, “I don’t care what kind.”

He nodded and went back and ordered me a bottle. Brayden came up next to me and told me to watch out for ‘that one.’ I chuckled a bit and said I could take care of myself.

The rest of the night, we drank, had dinner, danced a lot and had a great time. Both Chris and Brayden flirted with me all night and wanted to dance with me non-stop. Had I had another drink or two, I may have let things go too far with one or both of them, but I kept control.

I had to thank Brayden as he brought me home as I really needed this night out to unwind from the week. He said I was welcome to join him any night and gave me a wink. I gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek and told him I would see him soon. I went inside, kicked off my shoes and got ready for bed. As soon as I hit the pillow, I was out.

******

The first month was spent shadowing the other therapists and learning the paperwork. I also had several assignments in learning new music and showing my skills on the guitar, piano and other instruments they had. I passed all with no issues at all. The hardest part was learning the music of all different genres from all different decades.

I would assist in small group sessions on the transitions unit by playing the guitar or leading a song or two for the residents who were waiting to go a nursing home or rehab facility. I even did some one-to-one visits to get to know them or sing songs together on my own.

Little by little, I would begin to lead sessions on the children’s wing in both small groups and individual rooms with a therapist assisting me and eventually just observing. I really enjoyed this population, but was glad I got to work with the elders as well since I spent the last two years working in a nursing home.

On the weekends, I would sightsee around the cities or go to a park to spend time outdoors. They had a big celebration on the 4th of July that I participated in with Brayden and his friends. We would often go out to a club to dance and let loose as I became a ‘member’ of their group.

Sometimes, we would hang out at either his or my apartment, eat pizza and watch a movie. Brayden and I got pretty close and I guess you could say, we were dating, but nothing turned too serious, yet.

By my third month there, I was introduced to the maternity ward and the NICU. I have never had experience in working with women in labor nor newborns, so I was extremely nervous when I first started. After watching and observing others for a couple of weeks, I became the lead therapist and gained my confidence. It’s not something I see doing in the long run, but I knew there would be a possibility in the future of using what I learned.

I had my mid-term review at the end of August and I was so nervous as I met with Angela in her office. I know I have done well from my weekly meetings with her and the other supervisors, but I always get nervous when it comes to these things.

“Welcome Sarah, please have a seat,” Angela said as I came in. I sat down rubbing my hands on my knees. “There is no reason to be nervous, so relax,” she said as she smiled.

“Thank you, I always get this way when it’s time for reviews whether in school or in past jobs.” I took a deep breath and tried to relax as I released it.

“So even though this is a requirement for your internship, I like to keep things somewhat informal while we discuss your progress so far. We will go through your self-evaluation and I will go through my evaluation together and we can discuss any area that we differ on or areas that still need some improvement. Is that alright with you?”

I nodded as I pulled out my self-evaluation and set it on her desk.

“Before we start, I wanted to say that I’ve heard great things from the other team members and they are impressed at your work so far. I know working in a hospital with a variety of populations can be difficult if you are not used to it. Shall we begin?” I nodded again and she smiled before we reviewed the two evaluation forms in front of us.

We went through each question reviewing my answers and hers and discussing any area we differed in, which actually wasn’t many. I find I am always more critical of myself and there were a few areas I gave myself lower marks than she did. The questions are based on the competencies that all music therapists need to have to graduate and maintain in their professional careers.

For the most part, I was right where I needed to be. I needed to improve a little more on creating treatment plans, which I knew since I didn’t have a whole lot of experience in developing those while in school, and I didn’t have to do care plans at the nursing home since I was part-time and most were already developed.

I also needed to work on my confidence while working with the adult population. I could work with kids and the elders with no issues, but I did struggle with people my age or my parents’ age.

We went through my plan for the last three months of my internship before I left her office. I would continue working in the transitions unit and the children’s wing on my own, with my own patients, and with observation from other therapists weekly. I would also be introduced to the surgery unit, rehab and recovery unit and the ventilator unit.

All three of those areas are new to me, so I was definitely nervous, but the team will coach me as I observe them over the next month. I wouldn’t start leading until the last two months since these were new to me and I needed to be confident in what I was doing.

I left for the day pretty feeling pretty pumped up and excited that things were going so well. I had a three-day weekend since it was Labor Day on Monday and I planned on relaxing all weekend.

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