Just as we’re settling into the routines and culture of our current placements, along come Shellee or Randy to inform us that we need to start thinking about the field placement sites to which we will be applying for next year. Wait. What. Next year? Now?!
If you are dreading this process, you are not alone. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone at MSPP who even slightly enjoys screening sites, writing cover letters, collecting letters of recommendation, and waiting to hear back about whether or not you will get interviews at the sites you want most. Then there are the interviews themselves, which are nerve-racking, though the more you do them, the easier they get. And we get a lot of practice during our time in the PsyD program. Then the real waiting begins…when am I going to get an offer. I tend to become a bit obsessive about checking email during these times. And have to fight the urge to send yet another email to a site to see where they are in the search process.
Not only is this personally trying, but the site search is done in the context of MSPP. That is, your friends and classmates suddenly become competition. I’ve definitely experienced the conflicting emotions of hearing that someone else landed the site I was most excited about. I am genuinely happy for that person, but I also feel a twinge of…darn it – what does she or he have that I don’t? There is also the awful feeling of realizing that most of your friends have found placements and you are starting on the “second round” of interviews.
A few words of comfort to help us all through the next few months: First, there are a lot of great training sites out there. More become available in later months; last year, some people scored killer sites in April, May, and June. Second, your ability to get an offer does not in any way reflect your abilities as a clinician. I know many incredibly talented people who were among the last to be offered internships next year. Third…this too shall pass?
Good luck to you all. Try not to freak out too much. And if you do, talk to someone who can empathize…or commiserate.