Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It's all over

The semester is, for all intents and purposes, over. I survived the dreaded social welfare policy final today. All I have to do is hand in my final Foundations paper and take the ridiculously easy stats final next week.

Brooklyn Lawyuh is also over. He never called, so I emailed the shadchanit to tell her I assumed he wasn't interested. She called him and he hemmed and hawed, saying I was a very nice girl but... he just didn't think there was enough chemistry. Translation: Fat isn't the new exotic; it's just fat. Which is upsetting, but honestly, this guy didn't come with emotional baggage -- he came with a U-Haul. He told me that he married his ex-wife because she was a very sexy girl, and he was following her around with his tongue hanging out. Obviously he hasn't learned that looks aren't everything. I'm better off without him.

What's funny is that almost every day that I go to my internship, which is in an inner-city neighborhood, I get some inappropriate but flattering attention from the male denizens of the area. I tell you, when it comes to appreciating women, it's Black Men: 10, Jewish Men: -25.

Which makes it even more sad that... my internship is also over. I told my supervisor about the anti-Semitic banter that Miss Thing engaged in, which my advisor had told me to ignore. My supervisor was furious and asked me to write her a memo about it -- which I should not have done. Because there was a meeting at my internship today -- Miss Thing, Mr. Thing, the clinical director, and my supervisor. Nobody from my school, of course. I don't know what they were hoping to accomplish, but I knew my supervisor was going to bring that memo. And I guess part of me knew it was a mistake to have given it to her.

This morning I couldn't concentrate and study for the policy final, so I went to the internship office to tell them about the "it's the Jews" incident. And they decided to pull me from the agency and place me somewhere else.

I'm upset about the way things turned out, but in a way I'm relieved. As nice as my supervisor was, and as much as she tried to teach me and support me, she did put me between herself and Miss Thing. Which ultimately -- along with Miss Thing's shenanigans -- made it impossible for me to work and learn at the shelter. Now I have to go in, say goodbye to my clients, and not talk to anyone from the lead agency -- because my school is never going to place another student at any of their locations ever again.

I'm pissed at my advisor and the internship office because I'm really tired of them telling me I made a huge mistake by calling the clinical director. She gave me her card. She told me to call if I had any concerns. I took her at her word, and I'm the one who made the mistake?

Professor Fun told me, "You did the right thing."

I said, "At what point?"

"At every point!" she said.

I'm also angry at the clinical director. Not only did she set me up to fail by encouraging me to call her with any problems, she put me in an internship where she knew there were problems and the office politics virtually guaranteed disaster. Moreover, she has not supported any of Miss Thing's victims -- three social workers in five years is not a good record. By doing nothing, the clinical director enabled Miss Thing to abuse residents and staff. As a psychologist/social worker, she should have known better, and ethically, she was obligated to curb Miss Thing's depredations. The clinical director fell down on the job.

But I'm trying to hold on to what I can be proud of. I started late, but I learned the lay of the land quickly, I assessed where there were needs and developed effective interventions -- that group schedule will never be used now, and it's the residents who will miss out. I learned the shelter's procedures, how to do a psychosocial assessment, and managed to connect and get through to some very wary residents. I did the best I could under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

A classmate of mine who has years of experience working with alcohol and substance abusers told me not to look at my work in the shelter as unfinished business. He said, "You planted the seeds. Someone else is gonna water them, and someone else is gonna weed them, but you planted the seeds that are going to take root and grow."
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. Your friend gave you good advice, and I guess it's best to move on. Especially when it seems as though there's a very positive and productive second-year internship in the offing.

    The question is, what are you doing in between semesters?

  2. In between now and next fall, I've got summer classes and a new placement. That's till July; then I've got August free.