Dear Practicum

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Dear Practicum,

This parting of the ways is bittersweet. I’ll admit: at first, I wasn’t sure how much we’d learn from each other. I was skeptical about the kind of counselor education lessons you’d teach me. You’re not exactly the type of Practicum everybody else wants, but that’s always been okay with me. In the end, though, I am grateful for the time we have spent together.

Over the past ten weeks, I have learned how to read a child’s body language to determine how he is feeling. I have learned how to anticipate a tantrum, a forceful hug, and a lengthy pout. I have gained a renewed sense of patience and a new perspective. I’m not a naturally patient person, so you really helped me out!

Over the past ten weeks, I have cultivated a compassion I never knew I possessed. I have come to care deeply for those whose stories are difficult to tell, those whose lives may be overflowing with hurt and heartache and deprived of logic, reason, and simplicity. Without you, I might still be wondering about that empty place within me that compassion was meant to fill.

Over the past ten weeks, I have coached myself on how to speak with children who are anguished, who long to feel heard and understood. You provided me with an opportunity I might not have been offered anywhere else in this city.

Over the past ten weeks, I have soaked up every possible moment of training and supervision so that I will feel prepared as you and I part company. You provided me with excellent teachers and colleagues who have each left a unique, indelible mark on my soul.

Over the past ten weeks, I have looked forward to coming in to see you twice a week. I wasn’t sure how I would fit in with our arrangement, especially after I was assigned teenagers with whom to work independently… But we worked nicely together, don’tcha think?

As I said, I wasn’t sure how much you had to teach me in the way of counseling. I mean, how much could I really learn in a hundred hours? Turns out, more than I ever could have imagined. All of these lessons, tidbits, parables, and precious moments have woven themselves together to create a memorable “learning experience,” as they say. Patience, compassion, empathy, positive regard, listening, reflecting… I improved it all; sometimes it’s just hard for me to see the forest through the trees.

Because of you, I’m ready to tackle what’s next. Sure, I’ll still feel nervous on my first day, a small cog unsure of its place in the monstrous mechanics of the machine. I’ll still ask too many questions and doubt myself when the answer isn’t obvious. I’ll still second-guess myself, even though you taught me to be confident in my ability to adapt. But most importantly, I’ll keep going when the going gets tough.

You and I, we may not have fallen in love at first sight, but we’ll always remember each other.

Thanks, Practicum. For everything.

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