Livefrom GSE, our Student Ambassadors are pleased to present the first installment in our “A Day In The Life” GSE Blog series. Nicoleis a current student in the School Psychology Professional Diploma program, undergoing her year of internship before graduation in May 2013. Read on to learn more about her life as a GSE student in New York City!
If my schedule were a math word problem it would read something like this: If you spend 8 hours per day in a school for internship, 2 hours per night in class, 1 hour traveling, and approximately 1 hour studying or writing reports, how many hours do you have left? The answer is roughly: Not very many! For GSE students who are at the beginning of their programs I would like to share with you a glimpse into the busy but very fulfilling future…
My day begins each morning at 6:00 am to the sound of my alarm, and my disbelief that it is already morning. After I hastily get ready for my internship, I walk from my apartment to the subway, clutching a much-needed cup of coffee and mentally reviewing my to-do list for the day. I take the train uptown to the Upper East Side, reach school just before 7:45 am, and begin checking email as the halls come alive with the sound of students grumbling about the previous night’s homework and slamming locker doors.
The ensuing eight hours are filled with an array of ever-changing activities, meetings and challenges. Today’s agenda includes social skills group with second graders, a classroom observation of a middle-schooler, lunch with first graders, an individual counseling session, a parent phone conference, and an evaluation meeting.
Social skills group begins with a brief lesson on taking turns followed by an intense game of Uno. I refresh my pre-algebra skills while observing a student’s off-task behavior during a math lesson. While en route to the evaluation meeting, an elementary school teacher stops me in the hallway to update me on how our newly implemented behavior chart is working with one of her students. In the evaluation meeting, I observe as the parents, teachers, and psychologist unite to create an action plan that includes testing accommodations, classroom modifications, and parental reinforcement.
From there, it’s a race to the cafeteria for lunch, where I join the first grade students and share stories about their weekend activities, birthday parties, and sports games. After lunch, my consultation skills are tested as I briefly meet with a teacher to discuss her frustrations with a demanding student. This conversation is followed by an insightful phone conference with a parent who provides context for the struggles a student is experiencing within the classroom. I’ve just begun to update the school records with this new information, when I am stopped short by a student for our individual counseling session.
Forty-five minutes fly by, and I’m off to a grade level meeting, which is an opportunity for teachers to come together with the psychologist, administrators, and other support staff to brainstorm how to best serve struggling students. After the meeting I return to my desk, reflect on the day, and contemplate my ever-regenerating to-do list.
I leave my internship around 3:30 pm, and have some time to regroup before my class. I make my way to Lincoln Center via crosstown bus and indulge in a snack from Whole Foods and some reading in Central Park. On some occasions I head straight to the library to finish assignments, but today I’m afforded the opportunity to enjoy one of the city’s most beautiful landmarks- which Fordham is lucky enough to have as its backyard.
An hour later, I enter my School Psychology Internship course with ProfessorVincent Alfonso, and battle for a burst of energy to carry me through the next two hours. My sleepiness rapidly disappears though, as I become engaged in listening to my peers recount hardships at their internships. We share stories and suggestions, building a camaraderie that is a hallmark of the SchoolPsychology program at Fordham, and I hope will continue to flourish as we enter our own professional careers post-graduation.
I leave class and debate between venturing to the subway, or simply hopping in a taxi to head downtown to my apartment. The weather is usually the deciding factor (as it often is in NYC), and I eagerly return home to enjoy dinner and spend an hour or two relaxing before I have to wake up and start the day all over again…