May 3, 2009

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

I'm notoriously horrible at making decisions. Be it from simply what to watch on television, to where to go for dinner, to when and where I want to go in life, decisions are always difficult for me.

This past week, I've had to make a pretty big decision concerning my MSW program. As part of the program, we have a practicum that spans over half a year at the same place. My past practicums have been hit and miss, so I really wanted to make sure I did the right thing here.

So last week rolled around and this is when my telephone interviews for the sites happened. The first interview went well, and I was really liking the placement opportunity. It looked like it would be fast paced, I could have a certain amount of autonomy and there were definitely diverse learning opportunities. However, the interview was very matter of fact and I really couldn't get that good a feel about who my supervisor was, as a person or as a supervisor.

The second interview also went well. I connected with the supervisor, got a real feel for the placement and again, liked what I heard. This placement wouldn't be as fast paced, and the diversity of the population served wouldn't be as broad, but I would have some amazing learning opportunities, and the supervision was probably going to be better.

Coming out of the interviews, it was really a toss-up. I, as always, had a difficult time deciding. I did the pros and cons list, I hemmed and hawed, I figuratively flipped some coins. The first practicum was what I came out of my last practicum wanting. The second practicum had better supervision and good learning opportunities. What I think it came down to was the supervision and pushing myself to stretch out of my comfort zone. I chose the second practicum in a city counseling agency. In this practicum I will be observed, videotaped and recorded. From this, I will get feedback and critique, things that I desperately need.

I'm pretty comfortable with my decision and am looking forward to the opportunity.

Now if only I could decide where to eat this evening...


Silvia said...

Good for you! The reality is that either placement could be great, either placement could have problems. I tend to believe that the setting is a bit less important than the quality of the supervision. But that's my opinion, based on my own experience with my BSW field placement.

If I were your supervisor, I'd be delighted to have you!

cb said...

Good luck with it - as Silvia says - I think any placement will be very glad to have you..

Ayprel said...

Yeah, I agree. Whatever is toughest is likely going to provide you the best learning opportunity. Great decision. Now, as for dinner... today is Cinco de Mayo, so maybe some Mexican food? Ha!

antiSWer said...

@ Ayprel - I did have Mexican! The place was packed, but it was delicious! Well worth the trip across the border.

seasons4change said...

What do you think are guys to finding a good practicum? I'm entering a MSW program and am trying to figure out how ot to best select and search for a suitable practicum- espeically since I will spend a loooong time there.

Any advice??

antiSWer said...

I don't know what school you'll be attending, but they should have people available to help you select your practicum. The best advice I can give you is to know what you need from the practicum, and then find the people that can give that to you. Ask as many questions of your future field supervisors as you possibly can. Find out what their supervision will look like? If you're very comfortable in the field, try to get an understanding of how much independence you might have. Ask about how they give feedback. Ask about training that is available under their practicum. In the end, try to get the best supervision possible. Get a supervisor that has supervised lots of other students and has a plan. HOWEVER, make sure that their plan is fluid, or perhaps even on the same page as your plan for yourself. This is about YOUR learning, so make sure that you get your learning objectives met.

In my BSW practicums, I just took what sounded good and struck out on the second one due to bad supervision. What stood out for me on the first one (where all the learning came from) was the supervision.

There's so much more to say about it...if you have any particular questions, feel free to ask!

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