Moving into the Internship Phase

I’d like to talk a bit about my experience moving to the internship phase of my program. I am in the Educational Leadership and Supervision program and working toward a School District Leader advanced certificate and NYS certification. Here are few things that I understand now, in hindsight, that I hope you find helpful:

1. Don’t be anxious about this! I felt unsure of myself and thought setting up the internship would require me having a sense of confidence about it – knowing where I wanted to do it, who I wanted to work with, etc. But the only thing that I knew for sure was WHY I wanted to do the internship – to experience what education leaders do and how things work in schools and districts. And guess what? Meeting with my advisor (Dr. Doug David) put me so at ease! It was an informal meeting where we chatted and he asked me questions in an open-minded and encouraging way. I got the sense that he really wanted to put together an internship that was right for me. And that we were a team, putting this together. Bottom line – your advisor is on your side and wants you to succeed.

2. Be yourself! This seems important to putting together an internship that feels right, one that might put you on the path you are meant to be on. Being ourselves isn’t easy. There are a lot of expectations and pressures out there – societal, in our profession – suggesting we should act a certain way, want certain things, and all the rest. Going into my internship meeting, I was thinking about things I should say and wanting to say the “right” things. Because my advisor was welcoming and encouraging, I ended up being honest about what I wasn’t sure about (a lot) and talking about educational ideas I’m passionate about. Doing so seemed to help generate ideas about internship possibilities that matched my interests.

3. Let your advisor help you! What I mean by this is, you don’t need to go into this phase of the program with all the answers. If you do have a well-developed sense of what you want to do, where, etc., that is great. But from my experience of not having the answers, I was happy to lean on the wealth of knowledge, contacts, and ideas that my advisor had to share. Your advisor has a lot to offer in the way of guidance, support, and ideas. Take advantage of it!

Greetings!

Hello! I’m a newcomer to the graduate student blog and I am in the Educational Leadership and Supervision program.

More specifically, I am working toward my School Building Leader and School District Leader Advanced Certificate and NYS SBL/SDL Certification and my courses are all online. When I started the program I was new to online learning, and worried I wouldn’t catch on. But it is pretty easy – the help desk at Canisius was/is well, very helpful! And professors are understanding about the technology issues that come up now and then. I chose the online program mostly for the convenience. There are pluses and minuses, but for me the positives outweigh the drawbacks. First the positives – not having to travel to classes; you schedule your own learning times (the coursework is posted and you work when it is convenient for you – with an eye to assignment deadlines, of course); you move through material at your own pace. The main drawback is interacting at a distance – there is something about face-to-face interaction that is difficult to replicate in the online environment. In the courses I’ve taken so far, instructors work to bridge that gap, and courses often have an emphasis on discussion boards as a way to dialogue with your classmates and professor about course topics.

Speaking of discussion boards, in one of my courses, a classmate wrote a discussion board post that has given me good food for thought. In writing about her upcoming internship, she wrote, “I’m looking forward to moving out of my comfort zone.” This struck me as a powerful statement – optimistic, forward thinking, and unafraid to be challenged. What a great approach! I’m mentioning it here, both to pass along these good words of wisdom and also as a reminder to myself that learning is a process of stretching – it shouldn’t feel too easy. And although moving outside my comfort zone often doesn’t feel so great in the moment, the end result of doing so is always well worth it.

Best wishes as you move forward with your goals this semester!

Emily