Sara Moss ’14
Internship Site: Eating Disorders Section at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College - London, UK
I had been serving as a research assistant to a psychology professor at Dickinson who was preparing to go on sabbatical to the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) in London beginning this summer. I got up the nerve to ask if she might speak with the director of the Eating Disorders Section on my behalf about potential internship opportunities. I sent a statement of interest to my professor and she spoke with the director who agreed that they would be happy to have me as an intern for the summer! However, they were unable to offer me pay. I immediately applied for the Career Center’s Summer Internship Grant to help support the experience.
As an intern I got to work on many interesting projects all regarding eating disorder treatment. My favorite project involved watching videoed interviews with former patients who had recovered from eating disorders. After watching the interviews I would clip them into segments and add titles and images to create short “Vodcasts” that will be shown to patients undergoing treatment at meal times to help motivate and encourage them. I learned so much and was inspired by the courageous women who spoke about their experiences with eating disorders.
My main challenge was my anxiety/insecurity. At the start of this internship, I was unsure about my ability to accomplish some of the tasks that I was asked to complete. But because things move fast in the research world, I was forced to figure things out as I went along with little time to worry. Quite happily I found that I am a lot more capable than I had previously thought. With newfound confidence I am allowing myself to try new things.
All of my psychology courses were extremely helpful in providing me with the skills and language that I needed to be successful. Particularly Research Methods in Psychology and Psychopathology were very important. It was the combination of courses across different disciplines that helped me to be able to take in and process information that was new to me.
I am now certain that I want to pursue a degree in clinical psychology and have felt a real connection to the UK system. In the UK, psychologists are rarely just a researcher or just a clinician. Instead, they are clinical researchers maintaining a balance of research and practice. They allow their research to shape their clinical practices and their clinical practices to shape their research. Such a system is hard to find in graduate schools in the States. I am thinking very seriously about the possibility of applying to graduate programs in the UK.
Tips from Sara:
Be proactive and network! It’s been said many times, but it’s really true. This incredible experience wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t sought out the opportunity to go to the IoP or if I hadn’t put together an application for the Career Center grant. Look at the people and resources around you and try to find ways to create opportunities for yourself. Talk to family, friends, professors, former employers, and tell them about your interests and goals. Send emails, make phone calls, and set up meetings. You’ll never know what opportunities await you if you don’t ask.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.