Mia: Shaken Not Stirred

The true life stories of a NYC female.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A glimpse

Here is a glimpse into some of the funnier moments of my day yesterday at my internship…

Bring back the change
There’s this one social worker who just irks me. Every single time we hold a group session I am the one asked to go out and get the snacks and sodas. I don’t mind, it’s what she always says after giving me the shopping list that irks me. “Make sure you bring back the change and the receipt.” You would have thought that between last semester and this one she would have figured out that I’m not a thief. Until today she’s never done this in front of people today she did it in front of my mentor but she acted as if she were joking around when she handed me the ten dollar bill. She was still standing with my mentor when I walked in from the store. “Good lord you don’t know,” I said as I handed her the store receipt and $3.30, “I was tempted to run away to Atlantic City and play the slot machines with all this money! You’re lucky my mama raised me right! Pheww that was a close call!” I finished with a sweet smile. My mentor laughed while she appeared to be stunned. See, I can act like I’m joking around too.

We already signed up for the Berlitz classes

Despite the fact that only the grad students are allowed to process intake patients one of the directors was desperate enough to bend the rules for me when she took note of my surname. She needed someone who was bilingual to work intake with one of the other students. None of the Latino students were ‘fessing up to being bilingual. We all know what happens to the bilingual students who get sucked into doing intakes. They never see the light of day again. They never get to work directly with patients instead they get stuck doing administrative work. “Mia can do it .” the director told the social worker. As I stammered my mentor jumped in to save me, “No she can’t she doesn’t speak Spanish.” He told her “Right Mia?” I nodded my head earnestly. The director sighed in frustration. “I’m sorry Mia I just assumed you spoke Spanish.” I felt bad. “I do speak Spanish but I wouldn’t feel comfortable translating I don’t think I’m fluent like that.” “Don’t feel bad Mia I don’t speak Spanish either!” my mentor joked. The director smiled at us and said, “I guess the both of you will be busy learning Spanish for the next couple of weeks.” “Sure thing, my mentor replied “We’ve already signed up for the Berlitz classes.”

Grasshopper and Sensei
I was part of a group of NYU grad students discussing the lecture that had just finished when my mentor approached me, “Are you ready to leave Mia?” he asked. One of the students I’d been talking to asked, “That’s your boss?” “Na I’m his grasshopper, he’s my sensei.” I replied. My mentor burst out into laughter at the look of confusion on the student’s face. “He’s my mentor.” I clarified. Another student laughed and asked, “How will you know when you’re ready to go into the world grasshopper?” “When I’m able to snatch the paper clip from his hand.” I teased as I walked towards my mentor. “C’mon my little grass hopper."Grass hopper?” “Yes sensei?” “Did I mention you’re getting your own office?” I shook my head, “No, they just told us that we’re all going to be sharing office space. I’m getting a cubicle.” “No, no my little grasshopper your sensei will not allow you to share space. I got you your own office.” “Seriously?” “Yeah." “Thank you.” “Grasshopper?” “Yes sensei?” “I think you’re going to like it. It’s a really groovy office.” “Groovy huh?” “Oh yeah, only the best for my little grasshopper.”

I’m going to have to teach this man some up to date slang.

I want to try something with you.
We’d just finished the group therapy session when my mentor asked me to follow him to his office. “Mia, sit down I want to try something with you.” He gave me some minimal details on a schizophrenic patient we’d just seen. “How do you think she feels Mia? Can you describe it for me?” “Dude, you’re doing a ‘ tuning in’ exercise aren’t you?” “Yes” “Home work?” “Kind of” “Testing the theory?” “Yes.”

I took a deep breath and thought about the patient putting myself in her place I began to speak as if I were really her. When I was done my mentor sat back and his jaw dropped. “Shit Mia that was incredible. You nailed her dead on without even reading her file!” My mentor was impressed and I was proud of myself I can’t lie. “How did you do that?” I shrugged my shoulders. “ You can see it on her she has this aura of sadness it just seeps out of her pores. “Really?” “Yes” “She gives off this feeling that she feels she doesn’t believe she belongs anywhere. She’s happy just to sit in a room full of people and not be noticed. She doesn’t want to be noticed. A lot of the clients in the groups give off the same vibe.”

He asked me how I felt about her; he had seen us talking to each other before the start of the group therapy session. “ I like her, she’s very sweet.” He handed me her file and informed me that he had been treating her for 3 years and that as of today she was my patient as well. When he started the next group therapy session he looked at me and then at the patients sitting in a circle and asked “How many of you feel like you don’t belong anywhere? How many of you are happy not to be noticed?” Nearly all of the clients raised their hands. My mentor was taken aback. He looked over at me and winked, “the sensei learns from his grass hopper.” I smiled.

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