My Externship: An Enlightening Experience

As a Sophomore double majoring in Psychology and Anthropology & Sociology, I am overwhelmed by options for a career. However, before the Externship Program, I never had an opportunity to immerse myself in career options and therefore, had no idea what I wanted to do after college. After completing this program, I am more secure on my interests and occupational route.

 

What is an Externship?

The Externship Program is organized by the Lafayette Gateway Career Center and utilized by over 300 Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. During “a two-to-five day period, [students] become immersed in [their] host’s daily activities to gain a better understanding of their work, their career path, and their industry as a whole. Hosts include alumni, parents, and friends of Lafayette in diverse career areas, geographic locations, as well as in graduate and professional school.” This program allows Lafayette students to get an immersive work experience in a career field they are interested in or work with a professional that pursued the same major as them.

 

What Did You do?

My Externship was with Melissa Krublit, a Licensed Social Worker, who works at the Woodbridge Township Division of Multi-Service Programs on Aging. On the first of our five days together, she gave me a detailed itinerary of our daily schedule.

  

During my time shadowing Melissa I was able to sit in on her appointments with clients where she provided social, health, mental, and financial support to the elderly population in the community.

 

My Favorite Parts of the Experience

Everyday I observed the social workers interact one-on-one with clients. This allowed me to see how the job requires empathy and an ability to adapt to the concerns of the client. While that was interesting, going to a group outreach session at one of the senior residence buildings was my favorite part because it gave a macro view of the population and their needs as a whole. Group outreach is an initiative created by the Division of Multi-Service on Aging to engage and help vulnerable and isolated frail elderly, offering both case management to the housebound in senior buildings and delivering group programs.

I participated in a therapeutic group program where participants made vision boards that encapsulate their goals for the new year. I liked how even though Melissa was there to guide the program and speak to the elderly, the people present offered support to each other. The laid back atmosphere allowed the elderly to relax and become more comfortable talking about the good and bad things in their lives.

 

Below is a picture of the vision board I created by cutting out pictures from magazines and pasting them on a piece of paper in a unique way.

 

Take Away from the Experience

The goal of the Division of Multi-Service Program on Aging is to empower older adults to live with purpose, independence, and dignity. I love the way that the social workers at this center work alongside their clients to accomplish this goal. The social workers are by their clients side throughout their journey in older adulthood and available to help in all aspects of life.

Shadowing Melissa during this Externship has inspired me to pursue graduate school and either a Master’s in Social Work or Counseling. One day I would like to provide the same care and support to my clients as I observed during this week. Lafayette has an extremely passionate alumni network and this program allows you a great opportunity to network professionally and explore different career areas.

Because Lafayette offers the best blend of liberal arts and engineering studies the externship experience is a great way to learn about the career paths of people from Lafayette. While your externship host is an expert in their field, they have also been in the same place you are and have a special ability to empathize with your college experience.