Written by: Lauren Yagoda, Professional Development Intern
When senior psychology major Abigail Schmid applied to be a Self-Help Intern for Tuttleman Counseling Services, she was an underclassman with little experience in the field.
“I was a sophomore at the time, so this was my first experience even thinking about internships,” said Schmid.
After learning of the internship from the Psychology listserv, Schmid applied before Summer 2015 and was accepted for the fall. She has continued to work for the center for the past two semesters.
By applying to an internship early on in her collegiate career, Schmid was able to gain experience and insight that influenced her education and career paths.
“As an undergrad, it is very hard to [obtain] an internship in a counseling environment because in order to work with patients, you need grad school training,” said Schmid.
Schmid’s early exposure to the counseling environment allowed her to have a glimpse of what would be in store for her in future positions.
“[I’m] able to meet with current counselors at Tuttleman and talk to them about their career paths,” Schmid said. “This has helped me figure out what I want to do in terms of graduate school.”
As a Self-Help Intern, Schmid provides a calming environment for all students who enter the facility.
“We explain to [the students] the resources that we have, especially if that’s their first time being there,” said Schmid. “[We work in] a conference room, so we set it up, move the tables around, get all of our resources, put on relaxing music, and dim the lights.”
Schmid believes her experience working at Tuttleman is exposing her to the career in a positive way.
“By being exposed to that counseling environment I am working with individuals who suffer from mental pathology, not in the clinical sense, but I am around them,” said Schmid.
The tasks she has completed at her internship have inspired her to pursue a similar discipline.
“By making [a] student feel comfortable at the self-help center, that could transcend into me being a clinician or making them feel comfortable enough to come back and see me as their therapist,” said Schmid.
Upon graduating in Fall 2016, Schmid plans on attending graduate school. Once she is finished, she aspires to be a certified counselor.
“I’m considering a career in clinical social work, but I’m still toying with art therapy,” said Schmid.
Working with college students has pointed her towards the age group she hopes to work with in the future.
“I think there’s something really interesting about young people,” said Schmid. “I think that we’re full of new ideas, a lot of the times and we are a lot more receptive to change.”