I absolutely adore winter term. It might be my favorite part of the year. My project this year is essentially just a lot of compiled research on different ways to end up with the career I want (therapist specializing in young adolescents with eating disorders).
As is my way, I started with the books. I got a whole list of psychology books targeted to aspiring therapists and started making my way through them during winter break (I was too excited to wait for WT’s official start). I may have been a little overambitious in my book-buying, seeing as I’ve only read three so far. But I don’t mind-- I’m just starting my little office library years ahead of time! Honestly, I can think of no better way to spend January than cozied up and reading psychology books during the day and fantasy books at night. 10/10.
For my informational interviews, I started with Oberlin’s alumni connection website, Oberlink. I contacted every alum I found with a career related to mental health and set up interviews with them. I also used my own pre-existing connections in the field. Then I just asked a bunch of questions about their experiences and advice. These interviews were super helpful and gave me a ton of information on the details of where I’m headed. They also gave me a wide variety of perspectives on the benefits and downsides of things like inpatient vs. outpatient, private practice vs. institutional work, and all sorts of things.
The internship component of the project happened sort of incidentally. The start date for my interning happened to coincide with the start of January, so I decided to integrate it into my project. It was perfect timing-- it’s given me a chance to really immerse myself in the internship and learn the ropes before spring semester starts. I’m interning with the marketing team at an organization called ANAD, which provides free eating disorder recovery support and resources for anyone who needs it. I’ve also been training to become one of their peer support group leaders.
It’s only been a month since I started with ANAD, yet it’s already one of the most meaningful and fulfilling experiences I’ve had. The entire staff is so kindhearted and welcoming, and I feel right at home. Everyone is so passionate about the work we’re doing, and it feels so special and sacred to be a part of. For my part, I’m mostly helping with social media outreach (my gen-z status is finally coming in handy!). I’m getting practice designing posts and learning about analytics. The support group leader training has been another component of my time with ANAD. The training was extremely beneficial in learning skills that will continue to be vital for the rest of my career. I couldn’t be more excited to start as a support group leader.
The last part of my project was researching grad schools. After a few meetings, virtual tours, and lots of research, I think I now know where my preferences lie and have a goal in mind. All of this research and work culminated in an online Digication portfolio, with a page dedicated to each project component.
All in all, this month has been really helpful in determining my next steps and laying a foundation for my future. I highly recommend similar winter terms, especially if you’re looking for an individual project that you can shape on your own.