During my first few years at Derner, every challenge seemed it would be the worst I could face. When I got up from my desk at the end of the first weekend of first year and found that I’d read for 20 hours, I felt trapped in a hell of my own making.
First year: Hundreds (or so it felt) of practice WIATs, the doomsday of the grant proposal… Second year: the growing pains of new patients and supervisors; conference presentations; testing testing testing… As the weeks of first semester, then first year, then second year pass and we hit each new goal post, we learn to prioritize and make peace with our limitations.
Of the many milestones of the four years at Derner, the completion of second year seems particularly meaningful. You’re halfway through the on-site program and two years from internship. Of course, this accomplishment opens the door for new dimensions of anxiety. Dissertation proposal, internship applications…and what’s a ‘portfolio’?
The good news: Third year also brings opportunities for accomplishment and growth. Maybe you’ve started building long-term relationships with patients at the Adelphi Clinic, and are learning about yourself as a clinician and as a person. You’re really working part-time as a therapist at externship, and you finally see the fruits of your John Rorschach labor when you take on testing patients… for money! Your pre-Derner friends are bewildered that you’ve been entrusted with the mental health of strangers.
And then it’s off to internship!