Posts Tagged ‘graduate school’

Done!

May 7, 2018

I’m done!

I’m done!

I’m done!

It feels so good.

I walked out of my last class of my last weekend of my last semester of my Master’s in Integral Counseling Psychology today at 4p.m.

Every paper turned in.

Every presentation done.

Everything finished.

Well.

Heh.

Almost.

I still have two pieces of paper that need to be signed by my supervisors that I will have to return to the campus by May 23rd to be officially finished.

But class is done.

No more homework.

At least not for the summer.

Don’t even ask me what it’s going to look like for my PhD.

I can’t even go there yet.

And I shouldn’t.

I need to bask in the moment.

It really hasn’t hit me yet.

I was asked what I was going to do to celebrate and that won’t really happen until I have my graduation ceremony and party.

I was asked if I was going to take any time off.

Ha.

God.

I would love to.

But I dive right back into work tomorrow.

And although I don’t have supervision with my supervisor, I do have to go to his office and get paper work signed off.

So.

I will actually be heading into Hayes Valley to see him.

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to go back to his office, but I do, and thankfully I won’t have to stay for too long.

He told me to just drop off the paperwork to his mailbox and he would send it back to me, so I’ll do that, I’ve got my self-addressed stamped envelope all set, and then when I get it in the mail I can drop it back off to CIIS.

It’s a bit of a hassle, but it’s doable.

And since I don’t have a session with him and since I don’t have to actually see him in person I will be taking my time getting there.

I’m going to let myself sleep in a little.

Not a lot, but at least an hour longer than I have gotten up for the last five days.

And then off to my regular day, full-time work, and then two clients in the evening.

There will be no real break for me until next weekend.

I’ll still have to attend supervision and group supervision, I’ll be doing that from 2-5p.m. instead of 2-4p.m. to be able to cover all my clients.

I still have to have more supervision until I get my Associate MFT number from the BBS.

But.

When I get that bad boy.

Well.

Shit is going to change.

I’m going to exit from my current internship and start-up with my private practice internship.

I can’t wait.

It’s going to be so nice.

And I’m actually thinking that I won’t pick up any extra clients at my current internship.

I will be terminating with one client on Thursday and I think that I will stay at 7 clients instead of 8, give myself a little break, and if I want I can take a consult but not pick up a new client.

Especially since I would just be transferring them as soon as I start the private practice internship.

I cannot wait for that.

It will be such a nice change for me, and it will have some of the trappings of my current internship since it is in the same building space.

Grateful for that.

I know where it is, I’m comfortable with the location and I know other therapists in the building.

That feels really good.

But for now.

Let me pull back and just reflect on the fact that I got through.

I got the fuck through this Master’s program.

I have a Master’s Degree!

God damn.

It’s done.

Three years of grinding and hard work and reading and reading and more reading and writing paper after paper after paper.

Three years of skipping out on all sorts of fun to do all sorts of work.

Three years of growth and deep learning.

My god.

I have learned so much.

And now I’m an Associate MFT, number pending, with the BBS.

I’m a post-graduate intern.

That’s nice.

It’s really nice.

I just updated a bunch of stuff on my LinkedIn account.

That was fun.

I still have to figure out how to change my signature on my internship email to reflect the Master’s and the next level on the BBS ladder to licensure.

So much work.

My God.

I’m tired.

It was a big weekend.

And I’m pretty grateful it’s done.

I think it’s time for tea and chilling out.

A little quiet reflection to allow myself to recognize and appreciate all the hard work I have done.

It was a lot.

So much.

So very much.

And so fucking worth it.

Every last-minute of it.

Every.

Single.

One.

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Locked Out

May 5, 2018

But not for long.

I was just trying to get onto the student loan site.

I need to apply for a Grad Plus Loan.

I have done this once before, last summer when I was in practicum and realized that it was a two credit course, aka, about $2200 that I needed to come up with in order to pay for the supervision that I needed to begin seeing clients.

The school told me what to do and I did it.

I barely remembered doing it, but today when I went and checked in with the financial aid department they gave me the same instructions.

And yes.

My package that I was granted is $3,000 shy.

So.

Off to http://www.studentloans.gov to get me some more money.

Except, I swear, that they need like the name of my first-born child, a lock of hair from a unicorn mane, a sprinkle of fairy dust, me to click my heels three times in precision and spin around in my kitchen, to get into the damn system.

It’s happened every single time that I have tried to utilize it that it won’t accept the password that I have for it and then it freezes up.

So.

First.

I have to reset the password for the umpteenth time.

Then.

I am told that I have to wait 30 minutes.

What the fuck.

Come on.

You have my social security, my birthdate, my three, THREE, challenge questions, my mother’s maiden name, and my phone number.

Isn’t that fucking enough?

Meh.

Anyway.

Glad to know that I can apply for some more debt, hahaha, sigh, but that it is a resource is a comfort.

Plus.

In my visit I found out that I don’t have to worry about my exit interview to graduate with my Master’s Degree as I have registered for my PhD program as well as having accepted the financial aid package that the school put together for me.

That was good news.

The not so good news.

UGH.

Another motherfucking piece of paperwork has surfaced that I have to get signed.

I do not understand why the hell the school doesn’t give each fucking student a packet of the papers that need to be filled out to each cohort as they come in.

Then I could just pull it out, get it signed and turn it back in.

This whole trying to figure out what I need to get to them is frustrating as fuck.

Listen people.

I have gotten straight A’s and am on track to continue that with the papers I turned in and the presentations I have done, plus I have given you a fuck ton of money.

Stop it already.

Seriously.

So.

I got the two pieces of paperwork from the office and I have them in my folder and one I will get filled out next Saturday when I go to Group Supervision and the other I will have to wait and see until I get a reply from my supervisor that I no longer meet with.

I am going to be hella bummed if he asked me to come in early on Monday.

I am looking forward, in a really dreamy sort of way, to actually sleeping in on Monday.

But.

If I have to go in on Monday morning to get the paperwork signed I will.

I’m sorting of hoping that I’ll be able to do it at another time.

We shall see.

I may not even hear back from him until Monday, his work week is Monday-Thursday, he always takes a three-day weekend.

Private practice goals!

Speaking of.

It felt so good to share with the cohort that I had gotten a private practice internship, it was such a nice way to start the weekend.

As well as reflecting to them how much I have grown and grown up.

I compared it to starting the program riding my bicycle to school.

Then I got a scooter.

And today, well, I drove to school in my car.

And found parking!

So nice.

I reflected how far I have come and how much work I have done and I’m pretty fucking amazed.

Of course.

There are a lot of folks who helped me a long the way, some in small ways, some in grand ways.

I am reflecting on my best friend and the support I have gotten and the love for doing the work I am doing and the reflection that I am good at what I do and that I should absolutely go for my PhD.

It means so much that love and support.

I am so grateful for it all.

And grateful that this is it!

This is the last weekend of the program.

Today was the first day, I have two left.

And already a slight change in plans.

A friend of mine in the cohort and I have chosen to skip the closing ceremony and just go out to dinner the two of us.

She’s such a dear friend that I would rather spend the time with her then saying good-bye to people, though I do like them, do not measure up to the friendship we have created these past years.

She lives out-of-state too, so yeah, dinner at Schmidt’s with her tomorrow night instead of the closing ceremony.

I was ambivalent about it anyway.

My closing ceremony will be commencement and my graduation beach bonfire party.

That’s where it’s at for me.

And.

Hopefully I have given the Student Loans Government site enough time to reset.

Fingers crossed I get my new password correct.

Heh.

Done

April 30, 2018

I mean.

The paper, that is.

It’s done.

It is done!

IT’S DONE!!

OH MY FUCKING GOD!

IT’S DONE.

My last paper of the semester is done and sent in.

30 pages.

10,062 words.

That makes it the longest paper I have written in graduate school, apt that it is the last one I am writing for my program degree.

My God.

All I have to do for the next weekend of classes is show up.

I have no homework.

I have finished it all.

I didn’t have to finish it today.

But.

I absolutely had to finish it today.

I have a full week and not much wiggle room between work and clients at my internship.

Plus trying to figure out supervision.

Which, I think I may have figured out, I contacted my group supervisor and asked if there was any way I could meet with her after the normal group meets on Saturday.

That means I will miss the closing class ceremony, but that’s not a requirement of the course load, it’s just something the cohort is doing as a sort of ending ceremony.

Which is fine.

I don’t actually mind missing that.

I do mind missing the class time.

I would rather be in class and participate that way.

And I also sent out another request to the Wednesday supervisor to please let me know if an opening comes up, so if there’s a cancellation or a missing person I can take their spot.

I would like to do the ceremony with the cohort, I think it will be a nice way to close out the experience, though if truth be told I think it’s a bit on the woo woo side of town.

However, I don’t have an issue with it.

I am going to have my own little ceremony, my own party, and I will get to be with my people.

People who have seen me through this very long and arduous road of academia.

My God.

I mean.

I had stacks of books and readers on the floor of my kitchen today.

I was amazed at the amount of reading I have done.

And the stacks of books and readers was about a 1/4 of what I have read and digested.

A lot of articles were on-line, especially this last semester.

And I sold back a lot, the majority of my books.

I had to integrate 10 different sources into my paper from readers, articles, lectures, books, that I have read, and I pulled a bunch of them out of the closet today where I keep the books and readers I couldn’t sell back, and I did a quick dive in to see what there was to see.

There was so much.

So much.

I was really taken by how much was there that I have read, every semester, the accumulation of knowledge in my head, the reading, the writing, the integration of all the work.

I really have done a lot of work.

Not just on this paper, which yes, I did a lot of work on this paper, but overall.

The amount of showing up, reading, and writing.

The amount of internal processing and external.

The year and a half of practicum work and supervision.

The two-week long intensives that I attended.

All the things I didn’t do because I was doing homework.

And the conflict in my cohort, the privilege that I got to speak out against, the learning how to hold that conflict, address it, heal it and move on.

The work is no joke.

I’m grateful for it though.

I have learned so much.

About myself.

About others.

The paper I wrote today had four parts to it and each part had a series of sections, about four to six parts, sometimes eight that had to be addressed.

It made me really break apart and break down what I have studied, what I have learned.

And it showed me that I have learned more than I thought.

I have a great capacity for knowledge.

For this I am grateful.

I also am grateful that I am, that I have chosen to be, in a career that will continue to push me, continue to require that I learn more.

My career is always going to have me expanding my knowledge base and learning more.

It’s exciting.

Although.

I am also grateful that I can take a little break now.

The weight of that paper has been lifted off my shoulders.

It still doesn’t feel real yet, but it’s really done.

I have submitted it and that means that there is nothing left to do.

Oh.

Ha.

I have to lead a guided meditation on Friday for ten minutes.

Heh.

I think I can do that.

Sit down, close your eyes, breathe.

Done.

It’s a beautiful thing being done.

I’m just going to sit here for a moment and enjoy the lack of nothing to do.

It’s rather extraordinary.

Kicking Ass

April 27, 2018

Taking names.

Or so it felt like.

I mean.

I just re-arranged my calendar and wrote some e-mails.

But it felt really good.

I had a lot of small things that I needed to attend to today and I was given a beautiful chunk of alone time at the work today to do so.

I knew that I was going to have a couple of hours so I brought my computer with me today.

I don’t normally, but today, with the promise of two to three hours on my own I knew I would be remorseful if I wasted that time.

I read an article for my Research Methods class.

I emailed two supervisors, no, three!

I got my supervision schedule figured out for the next couple of weeks.

Unfortunately I have to skip 1/2 of a class on Saturday of my next school weekend, but as I’ve already turned in my final paper for that class I don’t feel too bad about it.

I usually go to a Wednesday night supervision group if I can’t make my Saturday group and when I e-mailed the supervisor got back to me and said the group was overbooked, she wouldn’t be able to see me.

I was a touch annoyed, but then I thought, ok, I’ll just cut class half way through and I’ll email the professor letting her know why I am.

Basically not playing hooky to go to the beach, but cutting class to spend two hours in supervision so that I can see my clients that week.

Then.

I went over my graduation check list again.

One would think that it would be easy but, um no.

It is two pages, two, of things that need to be done.

From therapy verification forms–my program requires that I attend a year of therapy with a licenced MFT, which I have done but I have not had  my therapist sign off on the form yet, technically I have to attend a few more sessions to hit the 50 sessions required, but I have been going for a year, I’m shy a few sessions from my therapist being on vacation, but my therapist has assured me she will sign the form.

I’ve done 44 sessions, I’ll be doing my 45th on Tuesday and I plan on bringing in the form with me to have her sign it then.

I won’t be ending therapy with her, she’s great and I could stand the support as I proceed further in my career.

Heck.

My career has barely even started, I’m not yet even to the point where I can get paid.

But.

I’m not that far off.

Which brings me to some exciting news.

I have an interview with a private practice to be an intern next Wednesday!

The therapist is a former professor, one of the ones I reached out to the last time I was writing this blog, and she got back to me yesterday saying yes, she would be interested and we should talk, when was good?

I shot her some times and we have a date to talk next Wednesday at 3 p.m.

I am over the moon.

First, because she is amazing and a great teacher and how she held the frame of the class leads me to believe that she is also a really gifted therapist and she’s someone I can learn a lot from.

Second, a private practice intern gets paid.

Not much, but fuck, it’s better than the zero dollars I get now for seeing clients.

I know, I know, all the experience I’m gaining, and though it’s true, I’ve also been training for the last three years to do what I do and I’m good.  I deserve to be getting something back other than accruing another hour towards licensure.

I don’t know how much it would be, but yeah, anything is going to help.

Third, and this is so lovely, she’s got an office at Activ Space, which is where my current internship is located.

She’s in the same damn building!

I could work with her and I could work with Liberation Institute.

I have to stay with Liberation right now until my Associate MFT # is assigned to me by the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences).

I cannot be a private practice intern until I get that number.

I can’t accrue hours.

I can’t be paid.

But.

If I’m working for an agency or a non-profit, I work for a non-profit, I can continue to accrue hours and see clients.

I still have to get a lot of supervision, 3 hours a week, until I get that AMFT#, but as soon as that’s done I can go to a ration of 10:1 versus 5: 1 (10 clients to one hour of supervision versus 5 clients to one hour of supervision).

Speaking of supervision, that was also something I addressed today, not just checking in to see where I could get it, but also to connect with my current group supervisor to get the solo supervision I will need for the next three months as I wait for the BBS to assign me a number.

She said she could and we confirmed our first meeting.

Very grateful I can keep my client load and still be getting hours.

I know some folks in my cohort are choosing to take the three months off, but frankly that makes no sense to me.

I have to accrue hours to get the licence, I might as well be doing it for the three months while I wait for my number.

I’m going to have some vacation time anyway, but still it seems frivolous to not be getting some hours during that time frame.

Despite all that, I am very excited by the prospect of getting to be a private practice intern and I’m excited for the convenience, should it work out, I’m used to the space, I know I can park, and I know I could fit in my needs there.

So that was a bit of what I did on my big break at work.

I am very, very, very happy with myself.

And!

I got the framework of my last paper set up.

I started in, I got it organized.

I will be able to sit down this weekend and do the writing, I even did a little bit today.

The final paper is no longer than 29 pages long, not including the bibliography, table of contents, title page, and index.

I have 21 pages written.

I only have eight more pages to go.

EIGHT MORE PAGES!

So damn close.

I’m almost there.

Thank fucking God.

You’re An Incredible Therapist

April 24, 2018

Aw!

Thanks man.

I had my last session today with my practicum supervisor.

Which means that as on this Friday I am no longer a trainee.

I am an intern.

I know.

I’ve been calling it an internship forever, but it’s always been “practicum” which is basically a trainee.

Now I become an intern and what that means is that I don’t have to do as much supervision.

Which means I will go in once a week to group supervision and that will cover 10 clients of direct face to face time.

As a trainee I was only allowed five clients face to face per supervision session, so I had to go twice a week.

Truth be told.

I wish that I didn’t have to continue with group and that I could continue with my, now former, supervisor.

I just got so much out of working with him.

I also got some strong admonishment from him about where I am interning and how I need to hold boundaries and about what clients I want to cultivate and what clients I need to let go of.

He also suggested that I look into private practice internship.

And I think he’s right.

He recommended someone who I had as a professor and I am going to ask her ASAP.

I feel like I should actually be drafting an e-mail right now.

There.

Did it.

Not letting any moss grow on that stone.

Onward and upward.

What it means to be a private practice intern is that I would take clients and use the license of the therapist who I work under, said person would also supervise me and my clients.

I would also get paid, though not that much, the majority, usually half, sometimes more, goes to the therapist with the client.

It helps though, and it is certainly more than what I am getting now, which is nothing.

I could also stay at my internship and see clients.

There are options.

But  won’t know what they will look like unless I start exploring them.

I will say I almost asked Bruce if I could intern for him, but I got the impression that he didn’t have the space, though he did express that he was going to miss working with me.

I was very flattered by that.

I also teared up a bit at the end.

And!

He broke the therapeutic frame and hugged me.

It was so sweet.

It was  really nice way to end.

He also encouraged me to stay in contact with him, he’d like to know where I am going to end up.

I told him I would of course be inviting him to the office warming party when I open up my own private practice.

I can’t wait.

Oh.

Yes.

If only just to decorate.

That’s a ways off.

But.

Getting slowly closer.

I got a few other things done today to advance me down that path as well.

I zipped over to CIIS after supervision, found parking after circling for a minute, right in front, jumped out, hopped up to the 4th floor and registered for my fall semester of my PhD program!

And.

I was just proactive and logged into my student account to see if my financial aid package was ready.

It was.

I accepted.

I’m a little nervous though.

I’m not quite sure, but it looks like tuition for the year is $24,500 and my financial aid package tallied up to $21,500.

That means I’m shy three grand.

Which is not good.

I wasn’t expecting to pay anything out-of-pocket.

In fact, I was hoping to get a little extra to help cover cost of living expenses.

There’s still a chance that I could get some scholarship monies, and who knows, maybe I can take out a grad plus loan too.

It’s all a lot to juggle and I need to remind myself that I have done a fucking lot today.

As I also turned in my Letter of Agreement paperwork to the practicum office and updated my student id at the registrar’s office then returned my library book and flew down the stairs, hopped into my car, and zoomed over to work.

Work was good.

Pretty chill.

I had a little headache, I think I was a bit stressed about getting everything in today that I needed, I also had my supervisor sign off all the paperwork from the last year and a half, so yeah, juggling a lot of moving parts today.

And of course.

Seeing a client.

My early client cancelled.

So just one today.

I used the time in between work and the second client to go to SafeWay and get some groceries, that felt good to do and it was nice to have the extra time to take care of that.

I was too busy writing my Research Methods paper yesterday to get to the grocery store.

All in all it was a good day, definitely busy, but so grateful to have gotten the things done that I needed to accomplish.

Slowly building up momentum towards graduation!

Tomorrow I’ll pick up my practicum site evaluation and I’ll need to take that in as well to CIIS and drop it off.

Last time I mailed it and it got lost in the mail room for weeks, this time I’m not going to risk it, I’m just going to drop it off in person.

All the things.

All of them.

Coming together.

Almost there.

So, so, so close.

One Down

April 23, 2018

One to go!

Holy shit batman.

I did it

I just now, I mean, literally two minutes ago, sent in my Research Methods paper.

Fuck did that feel good.

It’s not due for two weeks, but the fact is between working full-time, over time this week and last week, seeing eight clients, doing the deal, and whatever else life throws at me, I only really, for my money, had this Sunday and next Sunday to do the writing on the papers I need to write to wrap up the requirements for my coursework.

I did it!

I wrote my paper.

10 pages.

3,760 words.

It is done!

Such a good feeling.

Today went so well for timing and getting things done, it really unfolded in a lovely, sweet way.

So much so that I am a little in awe as I look back over the day, one thing leading smoothly into the next.

I got up early like I planned.

I went to the 7:15 a.m. yoga class.

Frankly it was perfect timing.

Oh sure, maybe my head was a little grumpy about getting up, but it was just great timing, to get up early to go to the 7:15 a.m. class instead of the 9 a.m. class, it gave me some wiggle room in my day and it was also the most pleasurable part of my day.

Yoga with my best friend than coffee and breakfast.

Then some household chores.

And.

Yes!

Getting all the paper work together for my supervisor to sign off on tomorrow.

Tomorrow is our last day together.

I’m excited to be moving into the next chapter and whatever it holds, though I will miss him, it’s been a good run and I do feel ready to move forward.

It will be good to thank him, hand over the paperwork and get that shit signed off.

After I took care of that I did a bit of food prep and tidied up, not that there was much to tidy, then I took a hot shower, got dressed in my super hero outfit–I like to dress up too when I’m writing a paper, especially since my Sunday evening commitment is in the Castro, and I like to represent–and then did the writing that supports the writing.

My morning pages.

I had a good run, wrote four pages then got ready to meet a ladybug and do the deal.

An hour later I was raring to go for my second lady of the day, but she’d gotten tied up in traffic and wasn’t over the Golden Gate Bridge at our regular meeting time.

I told her to relax, she could do a phone check in and besides, I had a big paper to write.

And.

That little bit of extra time was just exactly what I needed.

I had a small lunch, the breakfast was big, but oh so yummy, so I had just a pear, a piece of cheese, a bite of prosciutto leftover from having my friend over for dinner the other night and then I sat down.

I wrote a little note asking for help writing the paper, said a prayer and dropped it in my God box.

I got all of my resource materials out, all the books and articles, and sources I needed, my notebook and laid them on the floor around my little kitchen table.

One day.

Oh, one day, I will have a great big writing space, a big long kitchen table that I can spread out all my work on, but until then, the kitchen floor suffices.

Then.

I opened my laptop, opened the page to write and jumped in.

Two hours and forty minutes later I was pretty much done.

I had written 10.5 pages.

The paper is only ten so I knew I would be doing revisions.

But.

Well it was 5 p.m. on the nose and I had to meet my person in the Castro at 5:30p.m.

And I did.

We had a great meeting, a great check in, and then I went and spent time with the fellows and that was fantastic.

I am so grateful for my community.

Am I ever.

Then home again home again, jiggedy jig.

I opened my computer back up, did a deep spell check and grammar sweep, and then edited the paper down to a crisp ten pages on the nose.

And after taking a nice deep breath I saved all the changes, opened an e-mail to my professor and attached the paper.

Bye bye!

God, what a nice feeling.

So, so, so nice.

One down.

One to go!

I am so close, I can smell the bonfire on the beach at my graduation party.

Seriously!

So Many Details

April 20, 2018

I had a lot of stuff that I had to remember to do today.

Little things, but things that needed to be attended to.

I had a new client, so I had to print of new client paper work, plus some of my files are shy on progress notes and so I printed off a bunch of paperwork to bring into my internship.

I have learned the hard way that there are often times therapy sessions being held in the office that has the majority of the paperwork so I will print off my own at home to save me the headache of not being able to get what I need.

I was super lucky tonight and managed to sneak in right after a client left a therapy session in the office and I was able to procure the file for my new client.

That was smooth.

I’m back to running with a full eight clients.

Although it is rare that I see all eight clients in the same week, a lot of cancellations.

Which happens when the sliding scale is so low and people decide they can afford to cancel at the last-minute.

I can’t afford to cancel my therapist last-minute, I’m on the lowest end of her sliding scale and that’s $120 an hour.

Not an acceptable trade-off for last-minute cancelling.

However, I have plenty of clients that pay $10 or $20 a session.

It tends to lead to clients cancelling.

Sometimes I think I should be running with ten clients to make up for the frequent cancellations, but then again, right now, what with trying to get through the rest of the school year and get to graduation, I think it’s best to sit at eight.

Speaking of graduation.

I just did a bunch of work for my graduation invitation for the beach bonfire party May 19th.

I’m super jazzed to be able to have a party and so, so, so grateful for my friends who are helping out.

My best friend is in charge and gave me a time line of things to do and I flubbed already, but I’m hoping to redeem myself with the content and copy that I just sent out.

We shall see.

I’m not the best when it comes to those sorts of things.

Hopefully it will be enough.

And if it’s not, I can figure that out too.

My primary focus is just getting through the next few weeks and getting the papers done that I have to write.

I booked myself some time to write this weekend, it may not be all in one go, which is generally how I like to write, but I have some commitments Sunday that take up time.

I”m hopeful that I will get the majority of it done on Sunday.

I will be doing internship paperwork and BBS paperwork on Saturday.

Although I might be able to get a few things jotted down on Saturday as well depends on what comes up in my schedule.

I’m not too worried.

Ha.

I lie.

I’m a bit anxious, but I have faith.

I always get my papers written, this time will be no different.

It’s exciting to be getting so close, even if it is a little nerve-wracking.

Just two more papers!

And then.

A nice chill last weekend of classes, some closing ceremonies with the cohort, some hugs, and that’s that.

There’s a week in between the last weekend of classes and Commencement.

I’m still in the can’t quite believe that I’m graduating, but it’s getting more real.

I think, actually, that working on the invitation was helpful, it sort of solidified it in my head that this is all actually happening.

Even getting my cap and gown in the mail didn’t make it real.

I sense that it will feel real when the papers are done.

I’m ready for that.

And I’m ready for Friday.

It’s been a big week.

A good one, but intense and I’m ready for the weekend.

Granted, there won’t be a lot of down time, but I will make time for it if it should coalesce.

All work and no play makes me a dull girl.

And nobody wants that.

Nobody.

I Didn’t Get It

April 7, 2018

And I can’t say I’m surprised.

Disappointed.

Yes.

Surprised.

No.

There was something about the email that I got last week letting me know that the decision regarding the Diversity Scholarship had not yet been made.

I immediately began to have doubts that I was going to get it.

I’m not sure why, but it felt like the flavor of what was to come.

I was told the final decision would be reached by today, April 6th.

And I spent all day long thinking, where’s the e-mail.

I didn’t get it, where’s the e-mail?

Maybe I got it.

When are they going to let me know?

I almost texted my best friend tonight in between seeing clients.

I don’t think I got the scholarship.

But I got caught up doing paperwork and then my next client was in and therapy.

I drove home, really bad traffic, rain does that in San Francisco, the weather ups the idiot ante pretty quick, finally found parking and walked home to my little studio to make some dinner.

When I sat down to eat I got the bing that I had a new e-mail.

And there it was.

The notification letter.

I can’t tell you what it said exactly as I already trashed it, but it didn’t surprise me.

Disappointment though, I could have used that $5,000 per year.

I don’t even know how much my tuition is going to be for my PhD program, but I do know that having had some scholarship money for my Master’s program was really integral to helping me do some things.

Like buy my car.

Travel.

And, you know, pay rent.

I have steadily, over the last few years acquired expenditures that I never used to have.

My scooter, scooter insurance, my car, car insurance, dental insurance, health insurance (although that’s felt like a colossal joke), renter’s insurance, monthly yoga, and a lot of those things I helped pay for with my financial aid and my scholarship money.

And of course.

Tuition.

I’m not going to be too upset though.

It doesn’t do me well to dwell on it and although it’s a disappointment, how could it not be, I know that the money will be there.

Maybe another scholarship.

Maybe I win the lottery.

Maybe I come into money.

Maybe I just take out more student loans.

As long as tuition gets paid and I don’t have to supplement tuition with my own money, not right now, my own money goes to rent, groceries, phone, yoga, car, scooter, clothes, travel, cost of living in San Francisco.

If I get enough money to cover tuition I can cover my cost of living on what I make.

I will be ok.

I always am.

Sigh.

I don’t like the idea of taking out more student loans, but I don’t like the idea of not going after my PhD even less.

The education is important to me and the work is important and I’m doing it.

The money will come.

It will.

And before I know it, I’ll be attending my first intensive for the program.

I received an e-mail yesterday letting me know what courses I need to register for.

I will be taking five classes my first semester.

Three are credited courses and two are not.

The intensive is counted as a course and there is an online class forum that is counted as a course.

Neither of those will really affect me time wise.

Money wise.

Yeah.

The intensive runs I think at least $1800.

And typically what I have seen is that each credit of course work is about $1200.

So three, three credit courses will cost me about 10,800.

Tuition is going to probably be about $22,000 per year.

I think.

I am not 100% sure, but that was pretty close to what the Master’s Degree cost me.

I could probably look it all up at this point, and maybe I should, but it’s late, I had a long day, good, but long.

I had the first day of my fourth weekend of the program.

I did my case presentation.

I was the first to go and it felt really good to get up there in front of the class and share about my work.

I got some really nice feedback.

It felt really good to hear and it really made me reflect on how far I have come and how much I bring to my clients.

My teacher said, and I quote, “_____________ is really lucky to have you.”

Wow.

That was fucking nice to hear.

As were many of the other responses I got from my cohort.

I felt very much like a therapist as I sat there.

I also felt very much the therapist as I was working with a new client tonight in our first session.

I was marveling at how I have really learned how to listen, to reflect, to mirror, to validate and to re-frame what the client says.

I had a moment afterward when I compared how I felt taking on a new client now versus how I felt when I first started.

So different.

I really feel like I am doing a good job.

And that.

Just that.

I need to recognize.

I am a good therapist.

I am in the right field.

I am doing the right thing.

I am on the path.

I have a career.

I am a therapist.

Granted.

Unlicensed as of yet, with loads of work to be done, but I am firmly situated on this path and I am so grateful for having a purpose in my career and a career that will support me and one in which I will have great longevity.

I will get to practice for a long time.

So.

Yeah.

Bummed about not getting the scholarship, but it’s not going to slow me down from doing what I am supposed to be doing.

And for that.

Well.

I have only gratitude.

 

Ready, Set

March 28, 2018

Interview!

My PhD interview is tomorrow morning!

Holy crap.

I’ve got to get all the profanity, crassness, and foul language out of my system before going in.

Although, to give myself some credit, I am an articulate person.

I have a way with words.

Plus.

I interview well.

Which was not a talent I would have recognized in myself previous to this experience, but when I reflect on how I have done historically in interviews, I usually get the job, or the school to accept me.

Sometimes even when I don’t think I have done so well.

Hell.

Most times.

Most times before not too long ago, I would think that I hadn’t gotten in.

I didn’t think I was going to get back into my Bachelor’s program at UW Madison, I mean I seriously fucked up my first round of schooling there.

But I did, I interviewed with the dean of admissions after sending in an application letter to be readmitted and I was shocked I mean, shocked, when they let me back in.

There wasn’t even any waiting period, the woman basically told me at the end of the interview that I was accepted back.

That I could start that Spring!

It was the fall term and I think I had interviewed at the end of November, beginning of December.

I had not planned on that.

I hadn’t planned on getting in, I was “humoring” my best friend and a good friend of hers, a boss that I worked for, by applying to school again.

“You are just too smart to not be in college,” my boss said, echoing my best friend’s sentiments.

“If you don’t apply, I’m going to fire you,” my boss continued.

“What?!” I said, incredulous.

“I’m serious, Carmen, you really are just too smart, and I wouldn’t feel right if I wasn’t encouraging you to go back to school, go back, we still want you to work here, but you really should go back.” He concluded.

Of course I applied.

I didn’t want to lose my job.

And maybe there was a part of me that wanted to go back, to get my shit together, to do it right this time.

But I hadn’t expected to get right in, nor that I would be able to start in the Spring semester.

I had only a few weeks to adjust to the idea that I was going to be back in school full-time.

My boyfriend at the time was not at all pleased.

He was, in hindsight, though I couldn’t see it at the time, very jealous of my time.

He was also displeased, I suspected, because he had dropped out of UW Madison a couple of years prior and hadn’t managed to get his shit together to go back.

He did eventually.

After doing time for a felony conviction for stalking me.

But that’s another story, for another time.

Suffice to say.

The encouragement of my friends got me in and the encouragement of my friends here in San Francisco got me into my Master’s program.

I think they’re all still behind me for going for the PhD.

Last time I checked in with anyone it felt that way.

Although a few acquaintances did register surprise.

“Two more years of school!”

“We’re never going to see you at fellowship again!”

True.

And not so true.

Yes.

I will still be busy.

But I think I have learned well over these last few years to balance out my studies with my job, my recovery, and my social life.

Sometimes better than others.

And sometimes I really had to work hard at it.

Hell.

It’s been all hard work.

“Sometimes I wish I was done with the hard work!” I expressed to my therapist today.

We had a really huge session.

In fact, I left over time with her saying that she would like to support me in whatever I needed regarding our session.

I thanked her for that.

That’s the second time in a month my therapist has let me know that I can reach out for support after hours, or without having a session scheduled.

Though I don’t think I will do that.

I was quite touched.

I am, however, going to do some work.

The work it doesn’t really end.

It just changes.

And I change.

That’s the hope, anyway, that I will change.

Grow or die.

Ha.

Well.

Perhaps not that stark, not that black and white.

But I was pretty miserable today and sad and angry and upset.

I talked with my therapist about my health stuff, going really into detail, letting her know how I was affected by the system I seem to be unable to get out of.

And.

By my history.

What health advocacy looked like in my home.

In my family of origin.

Which was shit.

I only went to the doctor in an emergency.

There was no healthcare aside from the mandatory doctor’s physical before school each year.

There was only a doctor’s visit when something horrible was happening.

And it had to be really bad to get the attention of my mom.

Really bad.

I remember an incident that happen when I was seventeen.

Mono, strep, and tonsilitis all at the same time.

I was delirious.

I remember calling my mom and begging her to come home from work.

She told me she couldn’t.

I walked around the house crying and delusional with a fever that was so high the emergency room doctor chastised my mother for not bringing me in sooner.

He was irate.

It was one of the few times I remember my mom getting me a special treat from the market, croissants (day olds, but fuck, I had never had such an amazing piece of bread) and crab salad (fake crab, but crab!) and ice cream.

I certainly felt special and the words of the doctor faded out of my perceptions in a haze of fevered ice cream eating and sleep.

But the impact lasted.

I wasn’t allowed to ask for help, I wasn’t allowed to get sick, I wasn’t helped out when I was, I had to take care of myself and figure it out and doctors, dentists, hospitals, the medical system, all seemed scary and also not allowed for me.

I have done a tremendous amount of work to get through it and to be where I am, but it raised its head and there I was in therapy with a pile of tissues around me and angry tears on my face.

And.

Oh, the gratitude.

Some client advocacy from my therapist who made some suggestions and gave me some very valuable information.

Information I will be acting on pretty much immediately.

Well.

First the interview.

Then new insurance!

It’s how I celebrate now.

Not popping a bottle of champagne.

But rather.

Gifting myself.

Better.

Health care.

Officially.

#adulting

A Little Rest

March 23, 2018

Not much.

But enough.

I don’t have to get up super early tomorrow.

Although the mom had asked that I come in early, having forgotten that I have a doctor’s appointment at 10:30 a.m.

So.

Early.

Not so much.

I have set my alarm for 8 a.m.

Which feels like such a luxury, to sleep until 8 a.m.

I am all about it.

It’s curious, though, now that I’m thinking about it, I just realized the doctor’s office that I have an appointment with has not called or texted me to confirm tomorrow’s appointment.

I will be calling before I go in to confirm.

I really don’t feel like driving all over town if I don’t have to.

I’m not really excited about going in.

I had hoped that the lab results were going to be in by this time.

I don’t know how long the lab results take to process, but I dropped off the sample on Monday.

I suppose five working day sounds about right, but I’ve never been in this kind of health insurance land before.

I really miss Kaiser.

It’s funny.

I’ll see people lambaste it on social media, and there’s some point to that, there are certain things they lack, they don’t have a great mental health services department and they don’t do one on one therapy, just group therapy, but their system is super stream lined, I could just go online, pop in my account, make appointments, cancel appointments, get lab results, it was super easy.

This using my school’s insurance has been such a huge pain in my ass.

I have asked the family if we could relook at my insurance, and I’m willing to do the step work to do that, and see if maybe there is another alternative route for me.

I would be willing to pay a little into it myself.

My health insurance is pretty much covered by the family, they reimburse me on a monthly basis and it’s the amount that I figured out would be how much I pay in school–which was paid for in my student loans, but whatever.

The cost per month is $225.

So that’s what the family gives me.

I would probably have to pay double that to get Kaiser.

I’m almost ready to.

I could continue using the school’s insurance, especially if I continue forward with my PhD.

Oh my God.

I almost forgot.

I’m interviewing soon!

Wednesday, March 30th at 10 a.m.

Eight days from today.

Realistically I could continue with the health insurance through the school for the next two years.

I wouldn’t really be day-to-day affected money wise, it would be similar to what it is now, I pay it out of my student loans and the family pays me once a month.

If I can be served well, if I can get services then maybe.

It’s just been such an uncomfortable experience.

I’ve never had a PPO before and I really just don’t care for it.

And yes.

Gah.

Do I think that my reflux might have something to do with stress?

Because I feel a little now, stress, and reflux.

Sexy.

Ugh.

I’m just over it.

I’ll go to this doctor and see what he says, I’m so not excited to go see someone else, I really feel done with the whole adventure.

Except that I still get the reflux.

Not as bad as it was, I really do think that cutting out ibuprofen was such a huge deal for me, as well as being really mindful of what I eat.

And then.

I get concerned.

What if I have to take more out of my diet?

What if that’s the main issue.

Does roast chicken cause heartburn?

I mean.

I pretty much live on it right now.

I suppose it might be time to shake up my diet a little, but I do have certain staples that I am so used to eating, just thinking about having to cut out something else makes me feel a little crazy.

I have cut out a lot already.

Then again.

I just want to stop having the reflux.

So If I have to take something out.

I take it out.

Blah.

I have other more exciting things I wish to think about.

I wish I could let the reflux take the back burner, but it’s been so consistently with me for the last few months, more months than I want to admit, I just need to deal with it and do whatever comes next in the grand adventure of my health care.

I’ll go see the G.I. and do what I’m told.

I am not doctor.

At least not yet!

So.

I’ll take whatever doctor’s orders are and do what’s best.

Sigh.

 


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