As a graduate student studying to become a licensed social worker, your first internship is extremely important. Your social work internship will give you real-world field experience and a chance to put your theoretical learning to work in a practical setting. Your internship is also a chance to make valuable networking connections in your field. Make the most of your social work internship by following these tips:
Choose the Right Clinical Supervisor
Your clinical supervisor is the most important person in your social work internship experience. They will be there to supervise, teach, guide, and mentor you during your entire internship. They will also provide written feedback throughout the process, which will affect the grade you receive for your internship experience.
Your supervisor's experience in the area of social work you are most interested in is an important consideration. Just as important, however, is choosing a clinical supervisor you have a good rapport with, who you trust to be honest but kind with you, and who has the time and interest to take a guiding role in your education. If someone doesn't feel like a good fit, it is okay to keep looking. Both your university and online directories will be valuable resources in finding the right clinical supervisor by using companies like Clinical Supervision Network.
Remember to Approach Your Internship with Humility
Some graduate students make the mistake of focusing on showing off how much they've learned in their classes or trying to impress their supervisor during their internship. A more useful approach is to have a humble attitude and a genuine desire to learn as much as possible. Chances are that you will make mistakes during your internship and discover that there is a great deal you didn't learn from your reading assignments. Since the whole point of your internship is to learn in a hands-on way, embrace the opportunity!
Make Genuine Connections
Social work is an area that emphasizes interpersonal connection and relationships.Take the opportunity to get to know instructors, supervisors, clients, and fellow interns. Strive for genuine connections instead of just wondering how someone can help your career. Those sincere connections will most likely lead to networking opportunities once you graduate, and without feleing forced in any way. When the social workers you help at your internship genuinely enjoy working with you, they will be more likely to recommend you for jobs.
Following these tips will help you get through your first social work internship in a way that is meaningful and leads to many more opportunities down the road.Share