Tomorrow is going to be my first evaluation at my internship. I’mexcited, nervous and slightly disappointed in myself for some stuff they’re going to say — but overall it’s been a great experience.
For example, they’re going to talk to me about the one time I did a crossword puzzle in the room with the athletes there. One of my coworkers came over and whispered that I should stop because she got told not to at her meeting. Overall this relates to professionalism, and I think the biggest thing is that everyone can always improve — especially in the very beginning of your career, the learning curve is so high. You’ll learn so much just in the first year of being on your own, so I’m pretty grateful to have this year off for that. Anyway, the college setting is very different from the pro setting — back at Pitt, I did homework often at clinical (although I got talked to about it too, not to have my books laying all around). So I’m dreading this part of the talk, BUT — I came later in the season and I never worked at a high-pressure sport like football or basketball where there’s always media running around and every single thing you do gets scrutinized. I’m not making excuses, I just didn’t really understand the difference. So I’m feeling mostly okay, but actually quite glad to take whatever criticism they give me.
Another thing is forgetting to close cabinets — I do this at home, and even over here in my Utah home. At work I’ll get out stim wires/pads or a towel from the cabinets, set up the athlete, and leave it open. I didn’t realize I was doing it that much, but within just a week into being here, I started noticing people kept closing the cabinets, and I’d realize it was my fault! So I started working a little to remember. And one day 2 weeks ago one of my ATs was figuring out when to schedule my check-in…he said, half-jokingly, “well one piece of advice I can offer you is to close the cabinets! You are doing better today though”. It used to be that I’d get really defensive and mad, but of course I’d try to hold it in and sort of laugh it off awkwardly and try not to cry…but this time I just accepted it. I was only embarrassed because it was just something so easy to fix! But I figured, why not fix the easy thing and prove a little bit that I can listen and I can change? It’s something small, but it requires self-awareness (like hitting your head on the cabinet door corner multiple times…ha), which is huge in this profession because people are always watching (coaches and management and your athletes). It might not be big to others, but my process here is really important to me. So I’m going to get talked to about that — I feel so silly, it’s something a 5 year old can do.
They’re going to ask how I’m adjusting, and how I’m liking this, and I’m going to say a lot of things for sure! Or, I want to. I’m probably going to forget it all so let me just write some stuff down.
- Confidence! I’ll admit I always have struggled with it, and the new modalities here didn’t help. I was told early on not to show I didn’t know how to do something, because players could catch on quickly. So I made sure to do that. I’m doing well with confidence in how I talk to people, but other stuff is hard. Like, a lot of the guys don’t want me to tape them — it’s not that I suck (they wouldn’t know), but they’re also professionals, so I get it. I try not to let that mess with my head. Overall though, I’m doing well. My last semester with wrestling thankfully carried over.
- Relationships with athletes/coworkers: I was definitely more confident with some teams I’ve worked with in terms of relationships with the athletes. With some, I really think they trusted me and I was able to be comfortable, joke around with them and just talk to them. I’ll admit I was scared to come here, but these guys are great. Almost every single one of them knew my name within the first day. I’m sure a few still don’t know my name, but it’s ok. If they’re not in for treatment that much, I get it. My only thing is that when I work with soccer players who also watch soccer, I tend to talk too much about soccer and get to be a bit of a know-it-all and it’s annoying…I know. It’s just because I don’t have a lot of friends who watch, so I don’t have a lot of ways to project my…opinions? So I’ll have to watch that.
- I always want to work on self-awareness. It’s important to be vigilant and focused, but it’s hard! I’ll space out sometimes at practice and I’ll miss a signal from my fellow interns, or I’ll be too busy watching the drill in awe. But I’m really aware of the fact that I miss stuff, I’m working on it (I just don’t really know how to. Maybe I’ll find a book on it…). But anyway, see, in college — as a student/”intern”, you’re not really watched that much by coaches or “upper management” (because your athletic director isn’t at practice everyday, haha). But here, you’re watched by a lot of people and you NEED to be doing your best. The pressure pushes me in a good way sometimes, but a lot of times it makes me overly anxious and that makes things worse, so I need to work to find a balance there. I understand there will be good days and bad days, though, and that might be the key.
- Although I’m not afraid of communication, the speed/clarity at which I speak is honestly frightening sometimes. I speak quickly AND mumble, and when I realize I’ve messed up, I start freaking out more and do worse. Thankfully I’m doing better — as I’m more confident, I’ve chilled out. Aside from speaking quickly, I also move very quickly when flustered (the exact OPPOSITE of what you should do!) and it tends to end disastrously. I’ve noticed at times, when I’m in a rush to do something, like filling water bottles with ice quickly — I’m more aware that I’m rushing, I can even see my hands shaking. I have to take a deep breath and literally FORCE myself to move in slow motion (but it’s really not slow motion, it’s normal speed haha), even just for a few seconds just to reset myself. This also goes into talking over people…and not listening to people answer a question I just asked. BUT I’m doing better at both, I think! Or at least my awareness of that has increased, which is a start.
- Part of me did this internship to see if I really did want to work in soccer, and I can see that I definitely do. I like the sport, I like the types of athletes it breeds, and I enjoy the culture in America. But I also know how important it is to have a wide variety of experiences. I know one of my ATs didn’t work with soccer at all in grad school, so I’m going to ask how he transitioned to that, and then also transitioned from that into working with soccer again. I have no clue what the future holds, but I have dreams and aspirations and I want to try, I’d rather try.
- My favorite thing about athletic training is rehab, because I like seeing the progress. It may be small, but for example — I was doing shoulder rehab with one of my wrestlers who was told to sit out (once the real season was over and it was sort of post-season/freestyle wrestling time) for 4 weeks during it. I never measured his strength and I don’t know how he’s doing now, but I could tell that he was getting stronger throughout the time. I challenged him and I think/hope it made him want to do his rehab. So it’s been a bit of an adjustment coming here and not being the one making the rehab plans, BUT the best thing is that I get to learn new rehab exercises! There’s so many! I’ve even started a google doc of “things I’m learning at RSL” because this stuff is so important. I understand this is the life of an intern, but hopefully after this meeting I’m able to do more, or at least I will fit into things better, if that makes sense.
- Asking questions — I know they say that there is no such thing as a dumb question, but there are, and I have asked a lot of them. This one time I asked something so obvious, and we got interrupted by something and that was that, but I dwelled on it for my whole 2 days off and it felt awful. That goes back to communication and thinking before I speak/act. Also, asking questions that pertain TO an athlete in front of them, even if it’s not rude or is totally fine to be asked in front of them, should just be asked later on. Plus, that way, you can filter out dumber questions — you’ll remember what you wanted to ask, but then realize how much it doesn’t matter. There isn’t a lot of time for questions every day, but if I’m just patient, I know we’ll get around to it eventually.
- Seeing how the S/C coaches work is great, as I’m studying for my CSCS — I’m starting to see that a lot of things the CSCS guys do at the professional level has to be done by the athletic trainer at the collegiate level, or at least they’re more involved. Such as, fitness running for guys who don’t travel or are coming back from injury — so it makes me excited for the future and I’m glad I’m not doing this just for a credential to look ‘better”, because that would be a waste of time/money.
- Being scared to mess up — obviously that plays a part! I always forget that I wasn’t assigned this position, I was picked…and I’m not sure why, I think I blacked out during my interview, but I remember saying that the vehicle I represented was a train because I don’t let anything stop me (…yes, this happened). I don’t remind myself of this to brag or to feel falsely good about myself, but to remind myself that I’m here for a reason and to have confidence! Also, I’m referring to messing up in even the smallest terms, by the way, such as messing up during practice with water bottles somehow. I’m a pretty harsh critic for myself, though, so maybe (hopefully) I haven’t been doing that badly. This internship is a really really really big deal to me so I think I just put a lot of pressure on myself. This proved to me that I don’t give up easily, I’m creative, and I’m willing to be patient even if it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever waited for in my life.
- Finally — asking for recommendation letters. Sorry, it’s going to happen! I’m going to mention the top 3 places I want to go, because I don’t want to overload anyone, but I’m also going to be honest and say I’m terrified of this process again and I’m applying to like, 15 places (not even joking…I think). So hopefully this part goes well.
Ok, this is a lot…I might honestly pull this out tomorrow when they ask me if I have any questions or if I have anything to talk about. And I will definitely ask at the end if there’s anything else they can give me advice on, or if they have ideas for me on personal research with the topics I’m interested in. I’m here to soak up everything possible!