Internships for the weary
November 14, 2014 8:08 PM   Subscribe

I'll keep this one uber-short: I'm 25 years old, and 1.5 years out of college. I finished with a transcript and GPA not reflective of my abilities because I was, and still am, suffering from an anhedonic depression and what could possibly be a shade of BPD. I know I need structure and routine if I'm ever to get out of this rut. I've done a course in medical coding and found it wasn't for me. I want to go back and continue down the same path that lit a fire in my belly coming out of high school: obtaining a professional degree in either clinical psychology or neuroscience and making a concrete difference in people's lives.

I've never held a job, I'm in a wheelchair, and a pretty major stutter that I'm working on in weekly therapy. What sort of internships/ volunteering gigs can I reasonably expect to get that will give me quantifiable, enriching experiences- the kind that will encourage an admissions committee to overlook a poor undergrad record. Where/ how do I find these in NYC and its environs? (BONUS: In California!)
I know about Idealist, but I should think it's rather intimidating for someone without a resume/ some sort of a track record.
Looking for specific suggestions, but anything helps.
Thanks, green! You're the best.
posted by marsbar77 to Work & Money (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oops. Meant to say that I *have a pretty major stutter
posted by marsbar77 at 8:12 PM on November 14, 2014

I'm confused--are you in California and looking in New York, or are you in New York and looking in California?
posted by greta simone at 9:06 PM on November 14, 2014

Response by poster: Ah, sorry for the confusion. I live in New York- it'd be nice to spend the winter out west, but that's mostly just a pipe dream. Not an important detail at all, but thanks for asking.
posted by marsbar77 at 9:25 PM on November 14, 2014

the secret to this is to get a second bachelor's and ace all the classes. you want to demonstrate that you can do the work and that the past was you growing up.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:54 PM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Not to threadsit, but that isn't an option right now, financially or otherwise, unfortunately.
posted by marsbar77 at 10:27 PM on November 14, 2014

Can you reach out to former professors or classmates? People who already know you are more likely to come up with good suggestions.
posted by fshgrl at 11:09 PM on November 14, 2014

Would something like this help?

The Leadership Initiative for Students with Disabilities

Are you officially recognized as 'disabled'? It looks like the ADA makes "partnership grants" to various schools.

Not sure if this is helpful or not.
posted by doctor tough love at 11:11 PM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

Have you looked into americorps? The program has its pluses and minuses (I'm happy to go into those if you're interested, let me know) and you'll find people who hate it, but if you choose your placement carefully I think it's fantastic for recent college grads who are trying to get started. The good programs are a cross between an internship and a job: you're doing real work but getting support and training and they're good with working with you about moving cross country. Plus you get paid at least a little. There are time of different placements, it's not all working with kids or whatever.
posted by geegollygosh at 6:02 AM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure how interesting this would be to you, but a friend of mine with a psych ba who is now in grad for something psych related did two years at the camphill soltane americorps programs and loved it.
posted by geegollygosh at 6:12 AM on November 15, 2014

As a first step, I would specifically look at volunteer opportunities rather than internships. Internships tend to have more competitive hiring processes, and if you do a poor job once you're hired, you will piss people off. Volunteer positions, on the other hand, are less likely to be competitive, and your supervisors will be impressed if (when) you excel. I'm generalizing here, of course, but that's what I've seen.

You're in New York? You can look for opportunities on New York Cares and NYC Service. Look for something that appeals to you and has some link to a field you'd like to work in (the link can be tenuous). Once you start volunteering, be a stellar volunteer, and get to know your supervisor—he or she can serve as a reference when you apply to school, an internship, or a job.

One thing I'd consider, if it appeals to you, is volunteering with the Samaritans Suicide Prevention Hotline. Could be great for someone considering a career in psych. The only question is whether your stutter would make it difficult for you—that's probably something to figure out with your speech therapist.
posted by Mender at 8:49 AM on November 15, 2014

This old TimeBanksNYC site has this list of volunteer opportunities (towards the bottom, although most of the organizations listed are probably looking for people to help out).

Also, if you want to do clinical work but are concerned about getting into grad school I would recommend that you look into masters-level programs like mental health counseling, social work, creative arts therapy, occupational therapy etc. These programs are less competitive than clinical psychology PhD programs and usually put more emphasis on experience/dedication to the field over grades and test scores.
posted by fox problems at 9:53 AM on November 15, 2014

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