Saturday, July 30, 2011

Job Hunt Update

I will try to make this as quick as possible.
1) Because my last couple posts have been really long.
2) I don't want to jinks myself.
{& other reasons I'd rather not name.} ;)

I did not get the job at Lincolnton High School. But I did have an{other} interview. It was super impromptu and I can't really gauge how I feel about how well it went.
It was not for a job I had applied for; which is shocking...
But maybe it is simply *meant to be.*

Totally counting my chickens and saying if I get this job, then I will weigh its benefits vs. the benefits of a job offered to me from my fabulous internship site. I am unsure of the position at my internship site, Support Incorporated, yet, as I just found out that I will not be provisionally licensed until at least January 2012! I meet with them Monday to discuss my options for employment with them. They are a great company and would be a pleasure to work for, so...

...if I've said it once, I've said it a million times...
what's meant to be will be
and until I find out what it is, I will trust in God to provide.

"If it seems slow in coming, wait. It's on its way. It will come right on time."
-Habakkuk 2:3 {The Message}
This passage keeps me hopeful :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thank God He changed my plan!!

It’s my last week of my internship with Support, Incorporated.  It’s a bittersweet feeling because I don’t know what my future holds.  I applied for a job as a school counselor, two actually, and had a second interview.  I’m still {patiently} waiting to hear back about that.  I should hear something this week!  And I also have been talking with my internship site about working for them… I honestly have absolutely no idea what I want more, or what I’ll be even offered – so I’m trying not to worry about it.  I can honestly say I am 100% wanting to leave this BIG decision in my life up to the one and only person I know that is equipped to make such important life decisions… God!  

Do you ever sit back and look at what *you* had planned and then marvel at how God took your plan in the palm of His hand and crumbled it up & threw it in the trash, simply because He had something better in mind??  Right now, I am doing exactly that!

*My* plan was to have a summer internship where I was guaranteed direct contact hours with clients.  Actually, my plan was to have a PAID internship this summer, but, needless to say, that didn’t quite work out. I searched and searched and searched for an internship.  I accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to have a paid internship, but I got an opportunity to work part-time on campus for six weeks after school let out. That’d at least give me some money, and some is better than none, right? Well, I couldn’t even find an UNpaid internship in Hickory, or in Lincolnton for that matter.
My professor thought he had a lead, so I pursued that, desperate for an internship!  It actually worked out & I would be able to intern there, for an agency in Gastonia doing DWI groups.  But being in Gastonia would mean that I couldn’t work part-time on campus {because it’s an hour from Hickory, gas ain’t free, and I wasn’t making any other money}, which stunk!  Another bad thing was, was that I could get direct hours there, but not many indirect, as they are only open for time for groups!
As luck would have it, the day that the lead from my professor worked out, I got a call back from “an agency in Lincolnton” that I had inquired about.  Their main office was in Gastonia, so I talked to the supervisor there, and he informed me that I COULD intern there, but it would have to be in Gastonia, as they are not often in their Lincolnton office.  It was actually a minute down the same road as my other internship!  The only bad thing about it was that he didn’t think I could get all my direct hours there, as they contracted out for therapy.   I thought, “No problem because I can get all my direct hours right down the road!”  Seemed perfect, right?  Well that’s what I thought too!
As hard as it was to secure these internships, I didn’t want to deny either one of them.  And it looked like I wasn’t going to have to deny anyone anyways because of the direct/indirect hour conflicts.  So *I* worked out a plan.  I was going to split my time between both places, especially since they were so close in distance.   I was going to get my direct hours in one place, and my indirect hours in another. 
Well, long story short: that didn’t work out.  I needed to get ALL of my hours this summer at the second agency, Support Incorporated.  It was going to be tough, but it was possible.  I wouldn’t be able to do therapy like everyone else in my class, but I would be able to get creative and find alternative ways of getting direct contact hours.  My supervisor was THE MOST supportive in this endeavor, and for that I am so thankful!

So, there I was…
·         Instead of having a paid internship- I ended up in an unpaid internship.
·         Instead of being able to work part-time- I wasn’t able to make a dime all summer.
·         Instead of being in Lincolnton or Hickory- I ended up in Gastonia.
·         Instead of splitting my time between two agencies to ensure I got my hours- I had to intern at one and get creative to find ways to get all my direct hours in.

And boy, am I glad it did! Don’t get me wrong…
I would have loved to work with Jamie this summer & make some money.
I would have loved to intern closer to home since I wasn’t making any money, especially since gas is so expensive!
I would have loved to not have to worry about direct hours and just show up & clients be court-ordered to appear, instead of watching Medicaid client after Medicaid client choose to just NOT come to their appointments.

But at the end of the day, I would have traded this internship experience for another! Therapy or no therapy, I got some of the best experience!  I got to work with great people who were supportive, helpful, willing to teach, and just enjoyable to be around!!  My supervisor was great, trusting me to do the work and willing to teach me so many things!   

Can you tell why this experience ending is so bittersweet for me??  I am just so thankful to God for taking *my* plan and ripping it to shreds!!  He showed me, for the millionth time, that He knows what’s best for me and I just need to sit on the sidelines and watch Him do work in my life!!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I firmly believe you have to make efforts in your life to be blessed.  You can’t JUST sit on the sidelines and wait for God to move mountains for your lazy butt!  But I believe God blessed me because 1) He knew my needs, 2) I tried to be faithful in the situation, believing that something perfect would eventually work out, 3) I did my part- I made a million phone calls. 

So, in my present situation, I am praying for God’s will in my life.  I am not trying to sway myself either way.   For the school positions: I have done the work, applied for jobs, gone to two interviews, and made follow-up emails and phone calls.  For a future agency position: I have let Support know that I am also interested in working with them in the future and will be discussing with them soon employment opportunities for August. 

The rest is a waiting game—seeing what happens, figuring out my options, making a decision. 
Pray with me that God’s will prevails in my life and that the perfect job for me is made available, meeting my needs and providing me with a chance to help others, whether that be in a school setting or in an agency setting.   And pray that I stay patient, because if you know me, you know it’s hard for me!  August is just a week away and undergrad school loans are due a month from graduation!

But it’s okay, God’s plan will prevail…
and I heard it’s a perfect & pleasing plan, so I guess I can wait for it. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

This seriously happened.

So, basically over a month ago I signed up to take the Praxis. It's a test you have to take {and pass} to become a licensed school counselor.  Two days before my test, my dad asked me to help him with his yard sale. Yep, the day of my big test. Him not having any more help and me, being the generous daughter I am, offered to get up at the buttcrack of dawn, go get us breakfast, and then help him for a few hours before I had to head to Hickory to take my test at 10:45.  So, that's what I did. It only takes about 30 minutes to get to Hickory so I left around 10:00, hoping to get there early and be ready to take the test. I get there about 15 minutes early, got myself a good parking spot, and went inside. There were SO many people in line and there for a while, the line was not moving. I didn't know I'd have to wait in line forever. Come to find out, the "test start time" is just a made up time they want you to be there and get in line; generally, the test doesn't start until about 30 minutes after you thought it would. 

Well, I forgot my admission ticket. You know, the paper you need to register. I didn't think I had time to find an open computer lab on campus and print another one off. But, then again, hindsight is 20/20- I was in that line for half an hour.  I thought, it's totally okay...I have the admission ticket in my email and I'll just show it to the person at the desk from my phone when I get up there. No big deal, right? WRONG! 

So I'm in line half an hour, get up to the lady at the desk, and it was a woman I knew from campus. I told her I didn't have my paper but showed her my admission ticket on my phone.

"It's okay, you don't really even need that paper anyways, as long as you're on this checksheet." 
Great! Okay...

She then proceeded to circle my test and room number, wrote my registration number on the back of that paper since I didn't have my admission ticket, and told me my test room was upstairs.
Phew! Okay. That was easier than I thought it was going to be... On to take my test!! 

I went upstairs to my test room and waited for the 3rd test taker to arrive. Yep, there is a building full of Praxis test takers and our test has a whopping three test takers. 

The administrator tells us to put everything away and keep our admission ticket and our ID on our desks during the test.
"I don't have my admission ticket. It's okay though, I showed it to the lady at the desk on my phone and she checked me off the list and sent me up here. I have my registration number though."
She said that was fine, and I sat there and waited.
She started to read the standardized test instructions and then all of a sudden she must have read something to spark her memory and said, "Oh no! Wait! You have a phone!!"

"Yeah, I do. I had to use it to show the lady my admission ticket. But it's okay. It's turned off, in my purse, and under my desk." What else do you want, lady? It's not like I can use it to cheat or something.

"Well ETS rules STRICTLY PROHIBIT the possession of cell phones in the building."
Yes, she said in the building.
She then went and got one of the posters that are plastered all over the place.
"See?! It says NO CELL PHONES and having one will result in the dismissal of the test."
Are you SERIOUS?

Yes, I saw the posters, but it was a big red circle with a line through it over a phone with a bunch of writing on it. I just thought it was saying you can't your phones into your test, have them out, or use them in some way during the test. You know, the usual, non-psychotic cell phone rules.

"I'm going to have to call the head lady up here and ASK HER WHAT TO DO because THIS SAYS that you should be DISMISSED."
"Yeah, call her up here because my phone is turned off, in my purse, and under my seat."

She called the lady up and it was the lady I had met with downstairs!
"Yes, ETS rules strictly prohibit cell phones in the testing centers."
"But I just showed it to you because I didn't have my admission ticket and thought I needed it. It's not even turned on. It's not on my desk. I'm not using it. It didn't go off. I don't get it. There are probably at least 100 people here with cell phones in their possession. Why am I being singled out?!"
"Ma'am, you're not being singled out. These are the rules. They're not MY rules."
"After you saw the phone YOU sent me upstairs. I assumed all was well. Why NOW is this an issue? This is an expensive test {$150} and I have waited months to take it."
"Well, I can call ETS and explain the situation to them but I KNOW what they're going to say."
"Yes, please do because again, this was expensive and I need to take this test. I haven't done anything wrong."

She comes back and says that ETS said that I was to be dismissed for having a cell phone in my possession in the testing center.
"I'm sorry," she said.
"Yeah, you sound like you're sorry."
I was livid. I tried to keep my cool though.
As I left the room, the test administrator apologized to me as well.
SERIOUSLY LADY, stuff your bull crap apology up your butt because if you would have just been NORMAL and let me keep my phone OFF and UNDER MY DESK then none of this would have happened.

Now I have to file an appeal and see what I can do about scheduling to take this test AGAIN and HOPEFULLY not having to pay another $150.
Why the test administrator was a freaking psychotic Nazi, I don't know.
Why I was overlooked and then singled out, I don't know.
Why it's such a big deal if someone has POSSESSION of a cell phone in the test BUILDING, I DON'T KNOW!

But anyways, my rant is over. What's done is done. Lesson learned: read signs and be prepared.
But man, did that burn me up!!
Can you tell? Haha

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Wild & Wonderful Whites.....

I'm going to be honest- this is going to be a really long and a really weird blog post. Brace yourself!

So, Drew's girlfriend, Ashton, was telling me about this show/documentary/movie that they watched on HBO called The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.

Wikipedia describes it in a nutshell as:
The documentary The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia (2009) directed by Julien Nitzberg and produced by Johnny Knoxville follows the White Family for one year and primarily consists of first person interviews detailing the poverty, crime, addiction and the ramifications of the coal-mining industry on Appalachian society.
 Okay, so the fact that Johnny Knoxville took an interest in this family should have been the second thing to warn me {Ashton being the first} but "the ramifications of the coal-mining industry on Appalachian society" meant nothing to me really, other than, of course you figure being secluded for generations can do crazy things in the minds of coal miners and their families.  I seriously had no idea.

The movie was basically a family full of "outlaws" or "rebels", whatever you want to call them- Hillbillys with no moral code and Disability checks to pay for their drug habits is basically what it is.  I could not believe the way some people think- or, how much they don't think.  It seriously is a crazy documentary. Don't believe me? Here's the trailer:

Okay, so, you get the idea now...

These people are FOR. REAL. To the killing people and the grandma covering it up, to the baby being taken by Child Protective Services for being born addicted to drugs, to doing drugs at the grandma's birthday party with the little kid in the room, to having one family member shoot the face off of another. I mean this family is certifiably CRAZY.

With that being said, this sparked a conversation today between a "co-worker" {Ashley from my internship} and myself about....people such as this {for lack of better words.}We were talking about how some people are raised like this from day one and simply do not know any better. Some people don't have any chance in the world. Some people don't have an opportunity for an education or for a way out. Some people live their whole entire lives surrounding in some horribleness and never know anything better. The generations continue and the cycle never ends. That is a cryin' shame, I tell you, but it's the truth!

AND- as I watched this, it pulled at my heartstrings. For instance, the baby born with drugs in its system. That baby was beautiful! It was sitting there in the hospital bassinet with a pretty little pink bow in her hair. And what does the mom do? Crushes some pills and snorts them right there in the hospital room! This was right after she was talking about how she wanted better for her child...she wanted her child to have hopes and dreams, and to make something of herself, have an education, the whole nine yards. I was thinking- How would that baby ever have a chance with you acting like that as her mother?!  I didn't see CPS coming, because there's all kinds of kids in this crazy family, but I'm sure glad they did! There was no way in the world that baby was going to be cared for the way it should be with its mother acting the way she was.

I really DON'T know where I'm going with this...because I could go on a rant about drug abuse, the social security system, cultural sensitivity, it all. But I won't. Unless you just want me to. ;)

But, my point is...this stuff exists. People like this exist. And they aren't only in West Virginia in the Appalachian mountains either. I bet they're in Lincoln County- people acting like this, maybe not as drastic, but maybe. We never know. Drugs fry your brain and make people do THE stupidest stuff- and I think this is a great example. It's also a great example of how poverty and a family's culture can literally hold a person back from obtaining their full potential.

I don't know what I'd do if someone from the White family came into an agency where I worked and was court-ordered to receive mental health services. Holy moley! I'd sure be praying a lot, that's for sure! And if I'm ever a school counselor, I hope that my radar goes off and I notice a child in need- who may not have opportunities, support, resources, love, a good influence, MEDICATION, whatever it is they need to succeed, and latch onto them and do what I can to help them help themselves.

Okay, I think I can hop off my soap box now. :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

His perfect plan....

Seriously, I don't know what's wrong with me. I have been MIA from the blog world {once again} for far too long! I am interning 40 hours a week, spending time after I get home at the gym, getting dinner, winding down for a few, and then trying to get in bed at a decent time. That is my life. This is my summer. I am a LAH-WHO-ZA-HER! For real. But, I'm getting my internship hours completed and that makes me so happy! I am absolutely loving my internship site and the people who work there, but at some point in time, I will officially graduate, have to start paying student loans back, and well, frankly, {as Dwight from The Office says} "Gas ain't free!" Haha....

No but really, I'm really enjoying my internship site, getting to do some clinical evaluations, getting some great experience diagnosing mental health clients and referring them to services. It's been such a great experience and I am learning SO much. Everyone there is so helpful and is willing to teach me what I need to learn to be successful in a future mental health career. I am SO thankful for the opportunity and for the experience. God knew what He was doing and what I needed and I knew there was no reason to fret when I couldn't find an internship, then when I realized I had two and had to split my time, and then when I realized I had to lose an internship. It was all in His plan, His perfect plan!! 

Trusting God is something that is becoming so natural to me. Things fall apart and people do things to hurt me, I don't have any future plans, but I need some, and time is ticking, and quite frankly, I should be freaking out. But, I'm not. Why freak out?  Has it not always worked out before? Has God not always provided my needs? I am going to be honest. I have been straight up BLESSED. If I ever needed a job, I found one, one was given to me, something crazy rare just suddenly *popped up* out of nowhere and I was given another opportunity. God has always known what I needed and provided exactly that for me. I've been in ruts and He has pulled me out. I have complete faith that He will continue to do that for me, especially with my upcoming job search.

God knows I need a job for August.  God knows I am fishing for a lead. But I don't want to grab up the first job offer I'm offered for a job I applied for just because I have to have money. I want to be where God wants me to be. I want to be where I'm needed and where I can grow and learn and be a part of something great! 

I can't sit back and expect God to give. I'm applying for jobs. But I know what I'm passionate about and what I'm not. If I think I would hate a job, or if I know the environment is not healthy, then I am not applying for those jobs. I want to apply for those jobs where I believe I would be able to help people, doing something I'm interested in and would enjoy, and in a good work environment.  I don't want to set myself up for disappointment. I don't want to rush into a decision. I don't want money to be my deciding factor. I am just going to continue to pray for God's will in my life. That He will provide a way, a lead, an interview, a JOB OFFER {or two} and I pray that I can make the right decision, and, hopefully not before too long {if I could have my way}. 

But, until then, I'll just appreciate my first real big-girl job interview and pray that the right job for me is offered to me! I would love love love the job I was interviewed for, but if I am not offered the position, I will keep my faith in God that He will provide the job that I am truly supposed to be at in August. {Dear God please let it be August.} I should find something out next week.

Until then, I'll be playing the waiting game! :)
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