Friday, May 30, 2008

Gone Pecan

Someone said to me recently, "You sound like you're living the life." My response: "I feel like I'm living the life." ...Ain't that the truth.

It seems like everything is going just perfectly for me right now, and perhaps I should be waiting for something to go horribly wrong, but I'm holding out hope that it won't. :)

Benjamin's visit to Louisiana was just plain amazing. We had boiled crawfish twice, so I'm guessing he liked them (even though my daddy did a horrible job with the seasoning, and shh, I didn't say that). We also hung out with my family a lot, which turned out rather well. Probably the highlight of the weekend was our day of fishing in the marsh of Pecan Island. I hadn't been out to the island since Hurricane Rita three years ago, so I was definitely stoked to see what it all looks like these days. Fishing, crabbing, shrimping, and alligator viewing proved to be quite entertaining. Thankfully, we were very blessed with some gorgeous weather, as well. Everything was just great.

As of Wednesday morning (5-28), I am officially moved out of our apartment in Thibodaux. It's quite an adjustment to think that I no longer have roommates. No more afternoons in the park, 7th Heaven/movie nights, queso and yogurt parties, or Beham Buddies. What in the world am I going to do? It's so depressing when I think that I won't see any of my T-boonies people until graduation in December. Maybe I'll have some time in August when I go for Graduate Day. Ah, one can only hope...

Tomorrow, Allie and I are leaving for Little Rock, Arkansas. We'll be working at a special needs camp there until June 27th. I am told that our internet and phone access will be inconsistent, but I shall do my best to keep in touch in whatever way possible. I do have unlimited text messaging, so please text me as much as possible. It would be exciting to know that people back home are still thinking about me, even though I'm away for so long. Everyone loves snail mail, too, so send me some. I also plan to continue writing here as much as I can. Supposedly, we are off 2 hours each day, 1 evening a week, and every Friday and Saturday night. (Camp is in session each Sunday afternoon through Friday morning.)

Camp Aldersgate
c/o Lauren Mouton
2000 Aldersgate Rd.
Little Rock, AR 72205

Oh, internship update. I received "rejection letters," as I am calling them, from Arkansas Children's in Little Rock, Methodist Children's in San Antonio, and Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge. Don't worry though, I'm very content with this, as it has affirmed my choice to accept Boise's offer. Kim and I are now in the process of apartment searching--her more than me, of course. Plans are to drive up to Idaho in July, in hopes of settling our housing predicament. More about that some other time.

Just as a reminder, I'll give an update on my plans (or locations, lol) for the rest of the summer:
  • May 31-June 27: Camp Aldersgate in Little Rock, Arkansas
  • June 30-July 4: 4-H Camp in Pollock, Louisiana
  • July 5-12: Cross-country (West) drive to Idaho, one-way ticket home
  • July 14-August 2: Camp Bon Coeur (Staff Training/Camp) in Richard, Louisiana
  • August 6-10(?): Beach with Annie (Destin/Pensacola/Gulf Shores?)
  • August 28-September 1: Potential Labor Day weekend trip to Michigan/Ohio (?)
  • September 8: Begin internship at St. Luke's Children's Hospital in Boise, Idaho
Whew! I hope I didn't forget anything!!
Wishing everyone a great summer; please keep in touch!
Gone pecan,

Friday, May 23, 2008

Potato Land vs. Cajun Country

Welp. The verdict is in.

I officially accepted the offer to intern at St. Luke Children's Hospital in BOISE, IDAHO!!!
...a packet containing more information should come in the mail within a week or two. (Yeah, I'll be working at camp in Arkansas by then, but Momma will take care of everything that I need while I'm out of state.)

To give a bit of background information about my choice for Idaho, I have three friends who live there, and one of my friends (or twin, as we like to say, since we share a birthday) from Nicholls, Kim, will be moving up to Idaho in the fall, as well. She and I visited Idaho for Fall Break last year, and we had an absolute blast! I loved the environment--it was gorgeous, clean, and just a great overall area. During the visit, I also toured St. Luke's and met with a CLS there. (Apparently they remembered my visit.) So basically, I have been looking forward to moving to Idaho for quite a few months now; it was definitely at the top of my list, and to receive this offer so soon was great. Everything just seems to be working out in my favor...let's hope it stays that way.

Oh, and, I'm super excited because Kim and her parents invited me to join them on their cross-country (west?) road trip to Idaho in July. Kim'll be moving all her stuff up there and we will look for a place to live during this time. The timing is perfect, too, because we'll leave July 7th, and I'll get a one-way ticket home to be back in time for CBC Staff Training which starts July 14th.

As for the offer to interview at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, I called today to decline the invitation. The reason I gave was that it would be too difficult for me to arrange an interview with me leaving for camp so soon. Thankfully, the CLS there was super nice about everything and said she understood, that they have considered offering phone interviews, but they really believe it's important for potential interns to visit the site and meet everyone. Ah well. At least she was nice about it, right? (And, if I do ever decide that I'd like to experience life in Ohio, I can always go to OSU for graduate school.)

Today, Mom called to tell me that I received letters from two (previously) potential internship sites. Arkansas Children's had written to notify me that I was not chosen for their program, and Our Lady of the Lake (in Baton Rouge, LA) said that I did not meet their requirements (whatever that means). To be honest, I'm rather content with the whole situation. I would prefer that I did not get into these sites, then have gotten accepted and wondered whether I made the right choice. These are just two more examples of how everything seems to be falling into place.

I'll be sure to continue writing about all things internship-related, as I am sure you're curious to see how life pans out. :-P

In other news, I have finally finished packing all my stuff at my apartment in Thibodaux, and will be spending the night at Annie's (my roommate) house in Luling tonight. Tomorrow morning, I shall pick Benjamin (!) up from the airport in New Orleans, and head back to Thibodaux to meet my parents so that I can move everything out of the apartment. During Benjamin's visit, I plan to serve as Cajun Tour Guide Extraordinare. We'll have boiled crawfish, jambalaya, gumbo (?), beignets, 4-H ice cream (!), authentic Louisiana strawberry beer from Abita Springs, and a few other secrets that are still up my sleeve, at this point. My goal is to make sure this Louisiana adventure is one he never forgets! Hahaha.

Alrighty, Annie's serving brownies with mint chocolate chip ice cream...'nuff said.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

oh. em. gee.

May 22 Thu, 11:07 a.m.

-"Hi, is this Lauren?"
-"Hi this is (so-and-so) from St. Luke's in Boise."
"Hi, how are you?"
-"Good; I'm calling to say that we'd like to offer you the internship here at our hospital."




Wow. Let's just say I did not expect to receive that phone call today! In fact, I was literally shaking so much that I didn't know what to say or do! I somehow managed to ask when I needed to accept or decline their offer and if I needed to know anything else. She said, as soon as possible (within a week) and they'd send me the packet of information as soon as I accepted (if I chose to do so).

There are plenty of "pros," as well as a few "cons" to Boise, but, what can ya do? ...Mom says that I need to talk it out with people I trust, so that's what I plan on doing. If I decide to accept the offer, I'll probably call them tomorrow...I still have to figure out what to do about the Ohio situation...

Um, so...decisions?
Yeah, I'll figure that out...soon enough...

Tune in soon!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Status Pending.

Hm. Well. Today was my last scheduled interview (to date). At this point, I feel pretty confident, or at least comfortable with phone interviews. So what if I have all my books and notes and applications and other "cheat sheets" surrounding me throughout the interview, right? Haha.

I'd say today's 10 a.m. (CST) interview with Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children in Falls Church, VA, went pretty well. The ladies were nice, and I feel like I did well with their questions. Unfortunately, this was really just a preliminary interview, as the hospital has a policy about requiring on-site interviews for internships. However, I did inform the committee that I will not be available for an on-site interview, since I'll be leaving for camp in Arkansas in just over a week. They said they may consider doing a more extensive phone interview if necessary, but I guess it really just depends on if I impressed them enough the first time around. Also, the hospital seems to be flexible about dates based on students' schedules, so yay. Check, check.

  • Tell us about your interest in Child Life.
  • Talk about your experiences at camp/in the hospital; give ages of children and your responsibilities.
  • In your hospital experiences, did you get to speak with a specialist about preparing children, or about any medical conditions?
  • How would you establish rapport (a relationship) with a 2-year-old versus a 13-year-old?
  • In describing what Child Life Specialists do, how would you explain your role to parents of a 2-year-old, versus parents of a 13-year-old?
  • What are your goals for an internship?
  • How do you handle stress?
While waiting and preparing for my interview, I received a phone call from someone at Nationwide Children's Hospital which is in Columbus, Ohio. The CLS there was calling to offer me an on-site interview, if I was still interested. Now, I should note here that Columbus is in my top few choices of internship sites, and receiving an interview offer is really exciting. However, on-site? This presents a problem.
I don't really have time for an on-site interview. Benjamin will be here until Tuesday (5-27) of next week, and then I will be leaving on Saturday (5-31) for Arkansas. In between this time, I need to be at home Wednesday through Friday to pack and do other things in preparation for leaving for a month. Of course, I could fly up to Ohio with Benjamin when he leaves, stay for literally one day, and come home to get ready for camp. ...But spend $300 for one day? I mean really, that's almost not worth it. Or, I could wait, and fly up to Ohio from Arkansas one weekend; again, a very short trip, with an equally expensive dent in my bank account.
Gah. What to dooooooooo?
I'll keep ya updated...
Interview Schedule, to date:
  • Arkansas Children's Hospital (5-13) - Done.
  • St. Luke's Children's Hospital (5-15) - Done.
  • Driscoll Children's Hospital (5-15) - Done.
  • Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children (5-20) - Done.
  • Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH - Pending.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Worn out.

Wow, so, interviews are hard work! ...and I'm betting that scheduling two, back-to-back, adds to the challenge--or it did for me, anyway! I'm always so tired and worn out from talking for so long, that I just want to close my mouth and type for the rest of eternity. (Okay, maybe not.)

Alrighty, here goes it...

My first interview of the day was at 3 p.m. CST with St. Luke's Children's Hospital in Boise, ID. The questions were harder (for me) than the ones from ACH on Tuesday, but I somehow feel really good about the interview. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I'd visited the hospital in October, and talked about how I really liked the area and was especially looking forward to the new experience, including the opportunity to see snow for the first time. :-p We also talked about dates and things like that; they asked if I'd be willing to work through Thanksgiving in order to finish the program before graduation. (Of course, I said yes--hello, I've been looking forward to living in Boise for nearly a year!) So, if I go to Idaho, the program would start September 8th and run right up until graduation, I think. That just means everyone will have to plan for a snowy weekend visit to the Owyhee Mountains during Thanksgiving break!

Here are the questions:
  • Describe the needs, interventions for hospitalized children at each age/stage.
  • What qualities can you offer to the program?
  • What is your philosophy for working with children?
  • Discuss your interest in Child Life.
  • What will be your biggest challenge in a Child Life Internship?
  • If a doctor walks in while you're working with a child and asks, "What's Child Life, and why are allowing a child to play with medical equipment," what would you say?
  • How would you explain to a patient's family about the Child Life Program and what it has to offer?
  • Describe an instance when you had to discipline a child; what was the negative behavior, how did you handle it, and what was the outcome?
  • What are your long term goals?
  • Say a 5-year old has a fear of receiving an IV, what would you do? How would you prepare him for the procedure?
  • What are your expectations of an internship supervisor?
  • What are your goals for a Child Life Internship?
  • Discuss a time (at school, etc.) when your needs were not met; how did you handle it?
The interview lasted 40 minutes, which meant that when I was finished, I only had 20 minutes to prepare for my second interview. Gah. I rested my voice, browsed the next site's website, and read over my application during this time.
At 4 p.m. CST, I began my interview with Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi, TX. The main reason I even applied to this hospital was because I was looking for two more sites (the other ended up being Methodist Children's in San Antonio, TX) and Momma really wanted me to find something closer to home. Unfortunately, I think this (small) attitude shined through the interview process. I was also very tired of talking and thinking from my previous interview, so my brain pretty much shut down. Another issue with the interview was that the questions were once again harder than my previous experiences, this time, more theory based than before. I wouldn't say that I failed horribly, but I don't think I did very well. They did, however, say that they're willing to work with students' school schedules, so if I do get in there, I won't have to worry about conflicts with graduation.
And of course, the questions:
  • Discuss the theorist you are most familiar with, including the aspects of their theory.
  • What do you anticipate as the biggest challenge of a Child Life Internship?
  • Why our hospital?
  • Say a 10 year old comes in with a fractured leg, he's anxious/scared, and scheduled for surgery in a few hours--what do you do?
  • Describe your experience with other Child Life Programs.
  • Describe your experience working with children.
  • Why do you want a Child Life Internship?
  • What do you expect to gain from a CL Internship?
  • What skills do you possess for succeeding in a CL Internship?
  • What can you assess throgh observing a child at play?
  • Should we offer you an internship with our program, do you have adequate transportation and lodging to complete the program?
Umm...I hope that's all! It's kind of hard to remember all the questions, especially with the interviews so close together. If i remember more, I'll add them later...
Oh, both sites said I should hear something before the June 22nd deadline, so that's encouraging. In fact, Boise said they hope to notify me within the next two weeks! Woot woot! Now, let's just hope it doesn't mean that I'll have to accept or decline Boise's offer before receiving any others...but who knows, I may not even get in, and it won't be an issue at all. *Don't get ahead of yourself, Lauren!* We will just have to wait and see!!
Ta-ta for now!
Interview summary, to date:
  • Arkansas Children's Hospital (5-13) - Done.
  • St. Luke's Children's Hospital (5-15) - Done.
  • Driscoll Children's Hospital (5-15) - Done.
  • Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children in Falls Church, VA (5-20 @ 10 a.m.)
(Haven't heard anything new from the other 5 hospitals...)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Interview #1: Done!

One interview down, (hopefully) many more to go!

All morning I studied and prepared for this interview. I made notes from the child life text, placed post-it tabs on the text and activity book, organized notes on child development from my parenting class, and reviewed suggestions from a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS). I was bound and determined to be as prepared as possible for my first interview...and for the most part, I was.

The interview went well; the ladies were nice, and I feel like I did a decent job of answering their questions. It lasted 45 minutes, and by the time I was finished telling my mom and Dawn about how it went, my voice was just plain tired. I directed all other inquiries to this post...hehe.

For all those curious minds out there, here's what they asked (in no particular order):
  • Why do I want an internship with ACH?
  • Tell about my practicum (field work) experience.
  • Tell about paid experience working with children.
  • Discuss an instance working with children when I would have done something differently.
  • Tell about a time when I received negative feedback during my practicum experience.
  • Discuss a time when I worked as part of a team.
  • Give an example of a time when I had to be flexible and how I handled it.
  • What are my goals for a Child Life Internship?
  • What is my philosophy for working with children?
  • Describe family-centered care.
  • What are the strengths of my (FACS) curriculum?
  • Since I'm not a member of the Child Life Council, what do I know about benefits of membership, and trends in the field of Child Life?
  • Describe my experience with death and how I handled it.
  • If you were in a hospital elevator and someone inquired about "Child Life" on your name tag, what would you tell them?
Whew! I think that's it!
On another exciting note, my cell phone was out of service all day (as is typical when I'm at home), but when I finished the interview, I received two voice mail messages--both from potential internship sites! Upon listening to the messages, I am excited to say that two more sites were interested in offering me an interview! Yayyy.
So to update my interview schedule:
  • Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, AR (5-13 @ 1 p.m.) - Done.
  • St. Luke's Children's Hospital in Boise, ID (5-15 @ 3 p.m.)
  • Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi, TX (5-15 @ 4 p.m.)
  • Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children in Falls Church, VA (5-20 @ 10 a.m.)
Still waiting to hear from:
  • Georgetown Pediatrics in Washington, D.C.
  • Cincinnati Children's Hospital
  • Nationwide Children's Hosptital in Columbus, OH
  • Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital in Baton Rouge, LA
  • Methodist Children's Hospital in San Antonio, TX
For clarification on the 10th site, I applied to a hospital in New Jersey (and was really looking forward to the opportunity to live with my 4-H ladies, Emily and Danielle), but their internship dates conflict with my graduation requirements, so it's a "no-go."
That's all folks!

Monday, May 12, 2008

F.Y.I. (Yes, that means "for your information.")

Lately, I've been getting the same questions over and over again:
"What are you doing this summer?"
"When do you finish school?"
"Where are you interning/When are you going to find out...?"

For this reason, I've created a blog that I hope to update regularly over the summer and throughout my internship process. Please feel free to check back regularly to keep up with where life takes me. Leave comments/messages; I want to hear from everyone. :)

So, here goes.

Question 1: What are you doing this summer?
  • May 9-31st...School will be over; I plan to divide my time between home and Thibodaux, realxing and enjoying my final days with The Beham crew. I may also visit a few friends in various parts of the state, time permitting. Phone interviews for internships and a special visit from my world-traveled Ohioan friend will occupy my time, as well as preparations for the rest of the summer.
  • June 1-27...Allie (co-worker & friend from CBC) and I will be working at C.A. a special needs camp in Little Rock, Arkansas. We're both eagerly looking forward to this new and exciting experience.
  • June 30-July 4...Potentially serving as an adult leader at 4-H Camp in Pollock, LA.
  • July 5-13...The week is free, at this point. However, I'd love to travel (to say, Ohio, or Idaho?), instead. Perhaps I'll travel to check out housing near my internship site...
  • July 14-19, 21-Aug 1...Heart Camp (CBC) staff training and camp session. <-- best="" ever.="" li="" place="">
  • Aug 2-Unknown at this time...prepare for, pack, and move away for my Fall internship!
Question 2: When do you finish school?
The Spring 2008 semester for Nicholls officially finished on May 9 (although I finished my work about a week before that). Technically, I graduate on December 13, 2008, but I am officially finished with my on-campus coursework (!). All I have left is to do my 480-hour internship in the Fall, and then I'm d-o-n-e (1 semester early, I might add).
Question 3: Where are you interning/When are you going to find out?
My goal is to intern with an established Child Life Program (mainly located in children's hospitals). In order to secure a position with such a program, one must complete an extensive application process which often includes phone or on-site interviews.
As it stands, I have applied to 10 internship sites (hospitals) in 7 different states. Each site has contacted me to say that my application has been received, and I am currently waiting for offers for phone interviews. So far, I have scheduled two phone interviews--Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock (5-13 @ 1 p.m. CST) and Inova Fairfax Children's Hospital in Falls Church, VA (5-20 @ 10 a.m. CST).
To prepare for the internship interviews and position, I have read a textbook that child life education programs use, as well as spoken with a Certified Child Life Specialist, and discussed the process with a good friend of mine who happens to be a child life student (I heart you, Sunshine!). Hopefully it all works out positively...Wish me luck; I'm nervous about tomorrow's interview!
Alrighty, there it is. I'll try to keep regular updates with this blog so that you can all have an idea of how my summer and internship selection process is going.
Best wishes to all,