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Work Week in My Life: Seeing Patients, Dissertation, + Birthday Thoughts

Monday

It is 1 pm and I am waiting for my bariatric eval patient to come. The day has been fast-paced because we got many assessments scored and reports done, but also relaxed because I haven’t had too many face to face interactions with clients.

A practicum outfit pic that I took right before the elevator closed

I’m planning the day and thinking about how, at 6, I get to go to Zumba. I have the dance skills of a toddler who just learned how to maintain her center of gravity. So it’s a big deal for me to be confident enough to dance in a roomful of people. It helps that half those women are age 40+, though.

Update: my bariatric appointment came and we finished the interview. If you’re wondering why a psychologist does bariatric evals, we are there to report on risk factors, as there’s a big correlation with the bariatric surgery and depression (because you can’t eat the way you used to, and that makes you sad) as well as bariatric surgery and addiction substitution (you can’t be addicted to food anymore, so you turn to another addiction, such as alcohol). The interview went smoothly. I am always surprised by how many well adjusted people there are. We often give “no diagnosis” to these bariatric patients.

I did end up going to Zumba, which was hilarious. I was next to an older man who had very flamboyant and far-too-sexual dance moves. He wore tight gray pants and was not there to hide. Rather than placing his hands on his hips, he made a different stylistic choice– to place his hands on his crotch. He bucked wildly at the mirror and whooped. Let’s just say that the women in the class were very uncomfortable. As his dance moves increased in intensity, he started to encroach on my personal space. Then, the instructor added side kicks to our routine. Was it my fault if my side kicks were, ahem, a bit high? Let’s just say that I got my space after that.

That night, I had a continuity care session. This is a job that I do outside of practicum. My last order of business was to drop the WMS assessment off at my best friend’s house, since she kindly checked it out for me.

The WMS assessment in all its glory.

It’s a lovely experience to drive at night. Calm. Meditative. Parallel parking at night is a different story. After attempting to wedge my Toyota into a space three separate times, I made myself a parking song, which my boyfriend Brian had the pleasure of listening to. It went something like, “Everything is hard. Did I hit that car?”

I could not think of more lyrics after that, at least not while parking, so Brian joked that “the CD is stuck on loop”. At last I arrived, in my pajamas no less, with a car that was at least passably close to the curb. We got to catch up a bit and she got the assessment back. It was a good day.

Tuesday (evening)

It is 7 pm. It is also Yom Kippur, which (for Jews) is the holiest day of the year. We usually fast on this day, which means no food and not water. It is not a stretch of the imagination to call this day my least favorite day of the year. A girl on my instagram posted that this day is her MOST favorite, although I think she was just saying that to be different.

I mean, let’s assess. Cons of Yom Kippur: can’t eat, can’t have sex, can’t wear leather (heLLO, sneakers + dress combination for synagogue), can’t drink, can’t eat, can’t use lotions, can’t bathe or shower (don’t look at me like that, it’s just for one day). Pros of Yom Kippur: your sins could be forgiven and God solidifies His plans for what happens to you in the upcoming year.

The thing I struggle with is what exactly God defines as a sin. For example, I don’t gossip (well, mostly). However, I haven’t kept the Sabbath well this past year. And my skirts tend to be on the shorter side. At the same time, I like to think that I’m a good person. Don’t we all?

This isn’t a huge quarter-life crisis because I think I’m good when it counts. I always give money or food to the homeless, especially if they are visibly disabled. I do right by my clients. I am kind to my family and friends. I am even good at apologizing. But I’ve been really slacking on the rituals involved in Judaism. So, what does God care about?

It is now future me writing. I’m happy to report that although I struggled greatly, I kept the full fast. The synagogue service was very moving. The Yom Kippur prayer is interesting, because instead of saying “please forgive me IF I’ve sinned” it’s more like “I’ve lied. I’ve gossiped. I’ve made false promises, etc.” because inevitably we have all done that in some capacity this past year. I feel refreshed and I think it was actually not the worst day of the year after all.

Wednesday (of the next week)

Figured it would be boring if I blogged about Yom Kippur day (which was last week Wednesday) so I am filling in with a more recent Wednesday.

I saw two therapy clients today and worked on reports again. My therapy clients are both people that I genuinely care about, and I hope they can tell. I can’t give you more beyond that, but I can tell you that I spend a lot of time thinking of interventions and conceptualizing my patients in order to be the best psychologist possible. However, the most exciting part of the day ended up being after practicum.

My grandma and I met up at Urth Cafe to celebrate my 22nd birthday. That’s right, folks. I’ve aged. My grandma asked me how it feels to be 22. “I feel like an adult,” I said, and she was a bit disappointed with my answer. I think she wanted me to say that I feel like it’s my best year yet, and that I’m still full of joy and wonder and excitement. Which I am, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t consider it an achievement to be like Peter Pan, who is afraid to age. I am proud of the fact that I’m closer to adulthood, because it marks a new chapter, and because I am taking tangible steps closer to a career/adult life/independence. I believe that every new year of your life is a chance to be better than your previous years.

Thursday (of next week)

I made a bad decision. Last night, and I don’t know what possessed me to do this, but last night I went to bed at 1:30 am and told myself the fatal lie that all early risers tell themselves: “it’s okay, I will just sleep in tomorrow.” I did not sleep well, and I definitely did not sleep in. I was up by 7 am. What followed was a mental struggle: “will I attend dissertation class, or will I attend to this headache?”. I ended up not having to decide, because my dissertation professor cancelled class.

I laid around and attempted to nap and it didn’t work so then I was up. I cleaned my room. I wrote this blog post. I looked in the fridge and it was basically empty. I made a smoothie. I planned my outfit for later today. And then it was somehow 3 pm, which is now, and I did nothing useful. This is making me really empathize with my clients who don’t get sleep, because I feel like I’m functioning on 5% battery right now. My writing probably reflects it.

I read somewhere about a person breaking up their day into clusters, and how you have four clusters total, so just because the first half of your day wasn’t ideal, doesn’t mean the rest of the clusters can’t be. The clusters are: 8am to 12 pm, then from 12 pm to 4 pm, and then there’s a cluster from 4 pm to 7pm, and lastly from 7 pm to 12 am or whenever you go to sleep. So, here’s what I’ll do with this cluster. I will go to the gym. Then I will find food. Then I will work on some reports. And then, at 7, I am picking up two friends for the pumpkin patch. I will keep you posted about this cluster.

Update: it was a really good cluster. I did go to the gym. I made my family food. And here are the pumpkin patch pictures:

Friday

If you guys somehow got this far in my novel of a blog post, I’d like to extend a huge thank you. Today is a practicum day. My brother, chef extraordinaire, made steak, potatoes, and rice. I refrigerated them to bring with me for lunch.

In the morning, we got didactic training for a difficult test called the Halstead Reitan. It’s a neuropsych test that measures brain damage.
Then, I practiced for my testing client who comes this Wednesday.

I decided to heat up my lunch for once. I’m very conscious of smells and don’t want the office to smell like whatever I’m eating, but steak is a difficult food to eat cold. There i was, crossing the street with my phone in one hand and my warm Tupperware container in the other. I was really excited to eat my warm lunch on this cold day. Suddenly, the glass Tupperware slipped from my hand and fell on the floor, where it shattered into a million tiny pieces. The steak and rice fell with it. They lay in a heap in the middle of the road.
“Oh, no!” I said miserably. I felt like crying but did not. I tried to kick some of the bigger glass pieces away from the middle of the road, worried that I’d ruin the tires of anyone who drove past.

A homeless person who sat outside my practicum site asked if I was okay. That was nice of them. I was okay. But now I had no breakfast AND no lunch. I went back inside, dejected, and ate a single peach, which was all that I had left in my lunch box.
The day did get better from there. After practicing all of the tests and planning them out for Wednesday, I headed home. I went to the gym. The whole street was barricaded, which meant that my commute was thirty minutes instead of five.

However, it was barricaded for a nearby highschool parade. The marching band walked by first, followed by three decorated cars. A horde of high schoolers stampeded by next, chanting and asking us all to honk. We did. Then, the homecoming king and queen rode by on a white car, with the roof open. They looked radiant. Everyone was happy. The cheerleaders cheered and the band marched and the high schoolers walked (I was surprised to see so many skinny jeans still being worn). So even though I sat in traffic, I got a show.
As a person who never went to prom or homecoming, it was really nice to get a taste of this experience.
Then I went home and had Shabbat dinner with my family. I talked with my mom about clients for two hours. I borrowed books from my sister. And now everything is good.

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Published by adventuresofagradgirl.wordpress.com

Hi everyone! I started my doctorate in clinical psychology in fall 2020. A google search revealed that there are no current grad school blogs for psychology students. Anyway, I happen to know a girl who wants to document her journey to getting a doctorate (spoiler: it's me). Welcome. Hope you stay awhile!

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