Graduate School / Personal / School

Spiders and Stage Fright

Dear Friend,

Today was another gorgeous day in the Bay area! A perfect, sunny 77 degree day. To be honest I don’t know how I’m going to leave and return to the 110 degree heat after spending this week in paradise. I fall more in love with my apartment every day, my classes and professors are amazing, and, to be honest, I’m really enjoying some time alone to myself to reflect on a lot of things that have gone on in my life these past few months. I do wish I had my pup up here with me though, and I’m having some serious mommy withdrawals a.k.a empty nest.

My little Itty Bitty!

My little Itty Bitty!

I woke up this morning after a fabulous night’s sleep feeling a bit nervous because I had a practical midterm exam where I would be playing a therapist to a patient in front of 7 of my peers who would be watching my every move and evaluating my performance (not nerve wracking or anything). Despite the mild anxiety, I was determined to tackle the day with a smile. It was going really well until I opened my front door and walked head-on into a gigantic spider web that was spun in my doorway during the night… I Guess that is a price you pay when you have a garden outside of your front door. After a second of severe panic spent picking spider web out of my hair, I was really relieved to see the big sucker who crafted the web crawling up the wall and not down my back or in my hair…

Not the actual web but the spider looked identical to this one

Not the actual web but the spider looked identical to this one

Not exactly the zen start of the morning I envisioned but I wasn’t going to let a near spider death experience get me down! Because driving tends to calm me down I decided to take a new route to class to see a little more of the city I have been residing in for the past 4 days now, and, of course, I picked the one route that had road work and construction on every corner… Luckily I was only about 10 minutes late to class because of all the traffic. So, heinous spider attack, stuck in traffic, and late to class on a day I had a stressful midterm… FUN! Yet, despite my morning adventures, I was still determined to have a great day and bring my all to my practical exam.

I wanted to be the first one of my classmates to perform my practical exam otherwise I know I would have been sitting nervous in class the whole day. I volunteered almost as soon as we arrived in the lab classroom, told myself this was just another acting performance like ones I have done a hundred times, and gave an intake interview to my first patient with all eyes on me ready to evaluate the efficacy of my therapeutic skills. Despite the fact that my patient was my TA who is a 3rd year PhD in the program, I felt really great about the whole experience. He did a wonderful job portraying a depressed 28 year old who’s brother attempted suicide, and I felt like I was with a real patient. I received excellent feedback, and felt really amazing about the whole experience despite the fact that I had very minimal clinical experience or training going into this exam. I think that is one of the really special things about my PhD program. We are not only being trained to be competent researchers, but we are being trained to be good clinicians as well. It’s the perfect science-practitioner education, and it doesn’t hurt that the university partners and shares resources and faculty with Stanford (though I don’t like to admit that I’m enrolled at any school affiliated with Stanfuuuuurd).

After class it was off to do some exploring (and by exploring I mean finding a Starbucks), pick up dinner, and then come home to peace and quiet to work on my intake report and written midterm. After this week I don’t know when I will ever have this kind of alone time again, and I’m really trying to enjoy the solitude. I saw this quote online and thought it was very appropriate given how I have felt this week on my own.

3ebfc2bd298f2266830ac676d4bcd7a0Well that is all for today! I will be back with more updates tomorrow or Friday after my final practical exam 🙂

I love you and miss you every day.

Until we meet again <3,

Jordana Simone

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