Internship’s Really Hard; You Wouldn’t Make It

I hear it in my head when I’m not thinking of other things.  It’s like waking up from a nightmare where you can only remember the last thing that happened?  But then you go on to hear or see that last thing over and over throughout the rest of your morning, until something else finally takes its place.

A month ago, someone else on the listserv that I belong to told me something that has haunted me in much the same way as the comment in the title of this post.  They told me that my blog’s content was no more than the whiny dribblings of a student . . . here, let me quote it exactly:

“Your blog is about nothing but the whinings of a student.”

You . . . don’t give a crap about the lives of autistic people.”

This person also accused me of sitting back and taking it easy while the real advocates went out and did the dirty work.

They, like so many others in my life, attacked me by invalidating my inexperiences.  I told s/he that thanks to those words, s/he had joined the vast crowd of others who had done that exact thing to me all throughout my life.  S/he waved it off, saying that s/he had lived much longer than I; as though that were yet another reason why I shouldn’t bother talking about my problems when theirs had started long before mine.

I know that this person invalidated me through their words.  You likely know it as well.

But in the secret world of doubts inside my mind, I can still “hear” hir words, alongside the words of those who have said similar things to me throughout my entire life.  They say it because I’m younger than they are.  They say it because the scars aren’t visual.

I’ve started a new semester this past week.  New teachers, minus a couple of very specific music classes (piano lessons and gamelan ensemble – both things I would miss dearly).  I’ve only met 2 of the 3 new teachers, because the 3rd doesn’t meet for the first time until next Saturday.

One of the new profs said something in class about how we as counselors strive to see people as equal.  We’re supposed to be more open minded.  We’re supposed to be able to believe that people can reach their full potential with the right help . . . or something like that.

And I’m sitting there, and I’m thinking, “Really?  All people?  Or just everyone except me?”


One of my textbooks says the same sort of stuff.  Here . . . *goes off and digs the textbook out of the pile*

Foregoing the joys of APA citing rules, I’ll just tell you that it’s called “Culturally Alert Counseling:  A Comprehensive Introduction”, and it’s by Garrett McAuliffe and Associates (2008).

In the first chapter, there are two lines that really got stuck in my head; enough to get me stuck then in return:

Counselors embrace a world of possibility . . . a moral vision of human solidarity.

Really?  I suppose that the good ones strive to do just that, but where do I fit into that picture?

Am I just going to meet with the same thought pattern that I believe I did in my other major?  It’s okay to treat and help people like me, but that doesn’t mean that I can possibly think of going out and doing the same thing with other folks.  It’s okay to help you, but you can’t help me.  It’s okay to treat you, but you don’t have what it takes to ever be my peer.

And yet in my last practicum setting (a nursing/rehab center), a 96 year-old, nonverbal woman spoke to me.  A staff member there told me, my practicum partner, and my supervisor that we were the best MT group that had ever worked with the patients there.   A client there told me that I was the only one, other than herself, that could make another client smile/laugh.

My supervisor told me that I did better than some of the interns that she’s supervised in the past.

Internship’s really hard; you wouldn’t make it.

The person who said that never bothered to observe me in action, so to speak.  She threw all of the above in the trash and punted it out to right field (figuratively speaking).

It also became evident from that statement that she had never bothered to get to know me.

How could she hurt me so badly?  I thought of her as a mentor; she thought of me as a nuisance.

Texas Woman’s University’s Music Therapy program is a sham.  Their 90% placement rate is bull.  They kick anyone out of the program that they have any doubts about whatsoever.  If your personality isn’t 100% dead-on in-line with theirs, then you’re out.

If you’re not someone’s favorite, then you’re out.

I’ll watch for that this time.

She said that she’d had doubts about me for some time and this was it.

It might have helped if I had known about these doubts.   But since she didn’t choose to include me in her thought processes, I’ll never know what might have been.

Instead, they sided on the side of a professor whom they had only known for less than 5 months.  A professor who probably got the most number of bad evaluations out of the entire department.  They chose to side with that prof over the grad student whom they had known for nearly a year and a half.  I know for a fact that at least 90% of my grad class wrote bad evals about him.  One girl even asked for more paper – not me, I just wrote in the margins after I ran outta room.

Yeah, I made a mistake.  It was a really stupid mistake.  But in the pages of my official written history with the school, it should not have warranted this response.  I’m a grad student in good academic standing.  I’ve had two semesters of good practicum experiences (thus according to each of my supervisors).  I had made significant improvements in all areas.

Internship’s really hard . . .

You wouldn’t make it.



Damn it.

~ by lastcrazyhorn on January 25, 2009.

12 Responses to “Internship’s Really Hard; You Wouldn’t Make It”

  1. I know I have no business commenting, but I am the mom of an MT student at another university and I find your experience upsetting.

    These people are not the boss of you–not of the inside of you. They did you wrong as the song says, but what that story will mean in your life is not written yet, and will not be written by them. The elders in your practicum were better because you were there–that will not be a unique experience in your life. I am sure of it (and I am old so I am naturally right, right?.) You are not whining, you are expressing yourself. Keep on. Keep on.
    And ignore those who purport to advocate without compassion–that is just bullying in a different costume.

  2. Keep on commenting. You have every right. And I welcome your comments wholeheartedly.

  3. terri— what’s w/ the no-biz commenting part! i know i love your comments over at my place.

    LCH– damn, girl. i think what you said about age and scars not being visible is so insightful about this situation. as someone who is marked as a “youth” in the disability community and involved w/ many movements, i think this is actually a sentiment in all minority communities and social movements go through. not to get into it too deep but internalized oppression/ableism makes us do this to each other and i think that occasionally older people/long time activists see that we have opportunities they didn’t and even though these are opportunities they created for us, there is some weirdness that goes on. (we had it harder than you, why aren’t you doing what we think is important, etc). young people are told we don’t appreciate older folk’s works, that we waste our time, etc. i don’t mean to make it seem like what the person said wasn’t absolutely HORRIBLE, just want to say that often times when these things are said it’s in a context of internalized oppression and that you are fiercely fabulous with nothing to prove to anyone.

  4. Every time I read something you write, it makes me re-evaluate how I seal with my children so that I don’t do some of these things without thinking. Having raised five NT girls already, these ones are hard. Sometimes my mouth just runs rampant. But you remind me how much words can hurt in so many ways. You keep on talking.

  5. never forget that these people have not won. You are still going. You are kicking butt. It may not be the path you started on but they haven’t totally knocked you out of the game. You have a desire and you will fulfill that desire…one way or another! I have no doubt about that 🙂

  6. I enjoy this blog. Don’t let it get you down. I got a weird comment recently on my blog asking for my e-mail address, saying I don’t seem very desperate to find members of the opposite sex (well obviously doesn’t know much about me!) then left an e-mail saying to get the party started! XD I laughed almost as much as when the doctor, who was going back from the technician preparing the x-ray, asked this abstaining lesbian “by the way – any chance that you’re pregnant?” LOL.

    But yeah, I agree, that someone who is trying to diminish the efforts and experiences of another person in the community is not being a very good advocate in that moment, even if their judgement and contributions are good at other times.

  7. I sincerely appreciate your words and thoughts on life. I feel connected to you through your words, and I do not feel as isolated or different because of my neurology. You are not whining, and you certainly do care.

  8. I hope that the person who had such ugly things to say is not going to be/is a counselor. Some people are just assholes and like to beat other people down to make themselves feel better – but you already know that. You are a strong person – stronger than most, no matter your neurological makeup. Keep on keepin’ on!

  9. I suppose we’re meant to imagine this person, in their free time left over from generously volunteering to help improve “the lives of autistic people,” they look for (autistic) bloggers to try to make feel bad about themselves? Hmm, does that make good sense to anybody?

    Seriously, what the f…iggypoo were they trying to accomplish with that?

  10. I think your move from MT to Counseling is absolutely providential! If they practice what they preach, things will be much better. You are one of the most fabulous people I know, and I’m honored to be your mama. Last Friday, P.S. described you in glowing terms as a gifted composer–and in front of a group of people. With her Ph.D. in music and gobs of experience, she knows whereof she speaks. People know from this blog that you can write and think, but I wonder if they realize just how multitalented you are: composer, musician, writer, graphic artist. You are a national treasure.

  11. Um, wow. I didn’t realize it was your job to advocate for autistic people everywhere???? Why this person would’ve said such a stupid thing is beyond me.

    All I can say, is like AWALKABOUT, you have helped me rethink how I talk to my own child immensely. So if nothing else (and believe me, there’s lots more that you are doing, it’s so obvious to those of us “watching” you through your blog), you are impacting the lives of the children coming up behind you. Bless you for that, and screw that cranky person.

  12. Great blog you have here! Thanks for sharing.

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