Last week, I have officially finished my three-month internship at Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. As a final year undergrad Psychology student, I have been given the privilege to see the Psychology field before I decide to do a full sprint towards it. It was a fantastic experience.
Let me update you with the background story.
Last year, as an ambitious second-year student at the University of Melbourne, I did something that everyone else is doing throughout their university career – searching for internship. As I have limited Psychology colleagues to ask about internship experiences, I began to google “Psychology internship in Melbourne”. A couple of websites come out, but most of require their interns to have PR. Clicking through some pages, I finally arrived at the Center of Community Child Health (CCCH) internship page.
I immediately decided to apply for an internship here. First reason, because it’s THE Royal Children’s Hospital. The best hospital in Oceanic area. Ranked number 1.
Second reason, because it’s five minutes away from my apartment.
Third reason, because I have always loved developmental psychology and learning the way environment influences a child’s development.
The only flip side is, I need to be in my final year undergrad to apply.
So earlier this year (in January), I was having my holiday in Indonesia and I remembered about the internship. I applied, eager to be accepted, but modest enough to not break apart in tears if declined. The call came, but my Australian number was off. An e-mail came, and I panicked, thinking that they might not want to accept me if I was not yet back in Australia.
A week later I came back to Australia and just hours after I reached home the call came. Scheduled for interview next week. Went to the interview. Met my lovely mentor. Got accepted.
Throughout these three months, I have learned a lot about Psychology which lessons I have never been exposed to before. In uni I am always thought of the theories, on the basics of research and essentials stuffs such as learning how to read the tables and applying statistical methods correctly. But there, I saw the practical stuffs in front of my own eyes.
I attended countless clinics. I sat down with doctors and speech pathologists when they were assessing a child’s behaviour problems. I observed psychologists running some tests to see if whether the little boy got ADHD. I visited public schools and saw some interventions going on.
I learned how researchers plan their projects and commence towards them. I mailed out at least 400 questionnaires, checked half of them, rang participants about some missing questions and their changed addresses. I learned how hard it is for researchers to do a research.
I made friends. The people who work there were very supportive and friendly towards me, I almost didn’t want to leave when I came for my last day. They even threw an afternoon party for my 20th birthday.
Of course, I’m not going to lie. There were days when you felt like you didn’t want to come. Winter mornings, piling assignments, sleepless nights – they did occur. And since my internship’s unpaid, these reasons sound justifiable. Coming there to work nine to five, two days per week, for three months without getting paid is not easy feat.
But I’m glad, and extremely grateful that I have this internship. It’s truly an eye-opener for me and invaluable asset for my future. And one that I would keep in mind when choosing whether to do Honours, Master’s, or work, in whatever field, next year.
So to all my mentors and colleagues in CCCH, I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity. Thank you for giving me such a lovely time there.