CCD: Tell us about your experience. What were your responsibilities?
MB: If you said to me that I would work in an eating disorder clinic last year, I wouldn’t believe it. Even though I knew general information about eating disorders, they were still an enigma to me. So when I found this internship opportunity at Multi-Service Eating Disorder Association or MEDA, I did not know what to expect. But seeing what MEDA has done for the community, I was drawn to it.
Throughout this semester, I worked as a general intern. This meant that I supported MEDA’s general operations, doing things in the background that help MEDA function. My primary responsibilities were updating the MEDA therapist database, creating power points and plans for upcoming events, researching article topics, and writing articles for the MEDA blog. I would also do additional projects based on what my supervisor thinks is necessary such as making designs on Canva.
CCD: What was the best thing about the experience? What was the worst?
MB: I appreciated how flexible my schedule was and how I had a lot of freedom on what projects I can do. Having a very flexible schedule leads to some procrastination. I sometimes felt like I wasn’t given enough instruction on a project because of how much freedom my supervisor gave me. I would get stuck on things, not knowing how to proceed. I also liked learning how to use Canva and researching relevant eating disorder topics. However, I did not enjoy the more menial tasks such as updating the MEDA therapist database. Although I knew my projects were essential to MEDA, I wish I could have learned more clinical skills. Learning about specific skills used for their clients or observing a therapy group would have been great. However, I do not regret doing this internship as it answered some of my career questions.
CCD: What was the most memorable moment of your experience?
MB: My co-workers and my supervisor has also left an impact on me. I learned so much from each of them even if I couldn’t see all of them in person. I was able to interact with my co-workers through weekly staff meetings. Those meetings were something I looked forward to. Since there were only seven of us, we got to know each other well. Staff members would crack jokes or give hilarious anecdotes about life outside of work. The meetings were very informative as well. I learned about the different therapy groups for MEDA clients, upcoming events, updates on computer systems, and many more things.
The staff meeting was not the only chance I was able to connect with my co-workers. I had the opportunity to do one-on-one informational interviews with clinicians and graduate students; this was one of the best decisions I did at any internship. I got to know them in a more informal setting and ask them meaningful career questions. I gathered valuable tips and advice on working in the mental health field. The interviews allowed me to a connection with the other staff members beyond just being co-workers.
CCD: What advice would you give to another student about making the most of an internship, job, or other career-related experience?
MB: One of my internship goals was to understand how a mental health nonprofit like MEDA works and to see if I am a good fit for it. Experiencing the pros and cons of working at a non-profit, I can clearly say that I can see myself doing this in the future. MEDA not only had implications on my career path but allowed me to develop beneficial skills and techniques for future internships. Make goals of what you want to get out of your experience. I developed graphic design skills, fine-tuned my research skills, and developed some blog writing skills. Students should try opportunities they may not expect will come their way. Although this is an internship I did not expect to do, I learned so much about eating disorders and the mental health professional world. This has made me more certain of my future career as a mental health professional. I am grateful to the team at MEDA for teaching so much this semester, and I hope to find similar opportunities in the future.