Freckle

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F***ing Internship Search
Death Wish
scarylady4
So for my Masters in Social work I'm required to complete 900 hours of field work over 2 years (400 hours the first year, 500 hours the second year). I am not expected to receive pay for any of these hours. Here's how things have been going.

My first year:

Thought I was a part time student, and so wouldn't need to start one until spring/summer semesters only to find out that my program no longer has a part-time option and I'm a week late turning in my paper work. I scrambled and called the agency I'd been planning to ask--they have all the requirements for my program (MSW on staff with at least 2 years post grad experience? Check. Take interns? Check. Will allow me client contact? Check.). I filled out a short application, did 2 interviews, and boom, done, Awesome experience, I still volunteer there. Great.

My second year:

Wanted to intern at student mental health services because that's where I'd like to work one day. They have MSW on staff and take interns through their counseling program (which is much more intense), surely they can fit in a 500 hour social work student! Nope. Applied and told that they "could not meet my educational needs". Well darnit.

So I look into local non-profits, mental health agencies, government agencies, and then later private practice. Here's what's been happening over the past few months:

Most non-profits and many mental health agencies do not have MSW on staff. Can't work with them :(

Of the non-profits that have MSW's and take interns, they usually have a single time of year when they pick interns (with a loooooooooong application, more work than applying for Grad school!) and I always find out about the agency a few weeks or months after that deadline has passed.

Apparently neither the Assistance Office (ya'know, where people sign up for Welfare and SNAP, etc.) nor CYS apply any masters level social workers (hell, I was explicitly told that the Assistance Office has no social workers on staff at all!). The VA chooses their interns months in advance and the larger office (see Unwanted Fruitcake below) never answers their phones or calls back. The Shut-Down did not help.

Of the for-profits that have MSWs on staff:
"Sorry, we don't take interns"
"We have an MSW on staff, but they are too busy to mentor you, good luck! :)"
"We take interns, but you would have to fill out paperwork a year in advance of the internship to even be considered [undertone of WTF are you even calling you useless person!]."
"We don't have an affiliation agreement with your school and it's not worth it to have one for just one student [aka "you're not worth the paperwork"]."
"We could give you an internship, but because of insurance reasons you couldn't have any counseling contact with clients--all you could do is answer phones, make appointments, and do some insurance paperwork." [my program rejected this--"working with insurance paperwork is a part of social work, but this sound's like you would be a secretary." For extra laughs, almost every agency/person who rejects me suggests this agency *headdesk*)
"Sorry, I'm retiring soon and don't feel comfortable foisting you off on the next person as they have to learn their job" (reasonable, but frustrating)
"Sorry, I'm new to my position and wouldn't feel comfortable taking an intern until I've been here a year" (also reasonable, but frustrating)
***Never returns phone calls, no matter how many times I call them and give contact information, because no one ever answers their G-ddamn phones****
Or my favorite, In Which I Become an Unwanted Re-gifted Fruitcake:
*Talks to secretary or director of agency* "We would have to check with out [larger] agency branch, I'll transfer you :)"
*is transferred/calls larger branch, no one answers their phone, so I leave a message*
*assuming they ever contact me back, larger branch:* It could be possible, let me get your information and I'll send it to the people in the local agency near you! :)
........I hear nothing back from anyone......
*calls back and gets same response over and over and over again, sometimes I'm bounced between HR and the main company sometimes I'm bounced between the local and larger branches. Either way, neither will make a decision or commitment without the other but they won't actually talk to each other. I'm not sure if they just don't want me and won't actually say so and hope I go away or they are just hilariously uncommunicative.*
There is also a variation of this scenario In Which I Become Spam--an HR person sends out an email to their agency asking anyone if they want me but no one replies or does anything (even to tell me "sorry, we can't take you")--I contact this person a bunch of times and they keep sending out emails until I am reduced to email spam within the agency.

Private practices? Hah! Most of them only have one social worker and maybe a secretary--they tell me (and I agree) that since they only do one-on-one therapy it would be creepy and uncomfortable to clients to have me listening in during their sessions. Which, again, is true but helps me none.

I almost had an internship in the oncology ward at the hospital (after 2 rounds of you're not work the paperwork/affiliation agreement speech) because I happened to know a doctor who works there and knows a social worker + knows the people who process affiliation agreements. The social worker wanted to take me (and is a wonderful lady, I would have loved to have worked under her), but her supervisor wants her to work on her upcoming license renewal and feels that more than one intern (she's already getting an undergrad one) would be too much of a distraction. Both the social worker and the doctor are very unhappy with this (I myself managed not to cry until I was long gone from the hospital), but there is nothing they can do. The social worker gave me some recommendations, but they are panning out much the same as the ones I found on my own.

And I'm just furious and hurt. D*** it, I graduated with honors in undergrad, I have a 4.0 in my current program, I have worked in crisis work, client advocacy, group work (children and adults!) and one-on-one counseling. I have a stable work history grounded in research and my supervisors and other people find me sweet and caring. I have no criminal record. I'm offering to work for 500 hours for FREE (because anyone who expects to be paid for an internship in human services will be laughed out of the field).  WTF won't anyone take me?!!!!!! Half the time when people say "no thanks, but good luck!" they seem to be under the impression that surely somewhere else will take me--there are so many services in our area!--but since it seems that everyone is thinking that way I will never get a place. I've already had to have my second year internship deferred a semester to continue my search, but the extra time has just lead to more rejections. My paperwork is supposed to be due today (though I know that they will take it later if need be) but if I can't find one this semester I'll have to go another year (even if only to take the internship classes!). *&^%$#@!!!!!

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