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Alumni Interview: Anna Smith, #120

Anna Smith, Intern #120, was at MusicWorx from January to June of 2013. She finished her undergraduate courses at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. Though I first met Anna a few years ago at a regional conference, I was interested to see where music therapy had taken her.  P1010247

1.     What is your current job?

I am in the Overland Park, Kansas City working for the Blue Valley School District as the K-12 special education music therapist.

2.     Would you say that MusicWorx helped you get to where you are today?

Oh, absolutely! The MusicWorx internship really gave me the confidence and the experience that I needed to be able to take my job head on and meet all of the challenges that it has presented to me. So, definitely! 

3.      What drew you to the MusicWorx experience?

Well, in college going through all of the practicums I really loved every client I ever worked with, and I knew I was going to have a really hard time deciding. I was researching all of these internship sites when I came across MusicWorx. My supervisor had actually completed the internship a few years prior to me and talked to me about the wide variety of client experiences.  I knew that I just had to apply for the fact of the sheer variety. It has a lot of credibility. I mean, you go on the website and you see all the connections that everyone has made. It’s such a great company, has a good reputation, and an awesome place to be. And of course the location of San Diego didn’t hurt! 

4.     What was your favorite moment of your MusicWorx experience?

Oh wow! I would have to say that there are lots of favorite moments, but looking back at the “aha” moment when I first felt my development as a professional was when I co-lead our substance abuse group. That group can be very daunting at times and you can have up to thirty adults. It can be very intimidating, especially because I had not worked with that population before.  After my first session co-leading, I had this feeling of, “You know, I CAN do this and there’s nothing that I can’t do. That’s the moment, I took my first big step!”  I don’t think I would have ever gotten that experience without MusicWorx.

5.     Are there any aspects of what you learned at MusicWorx internship that best prepared you for your career today?

There are really so many things. First and foremost, the clinical experience you can’t beat. Having that variety of experiences, but also the business skills and professional development in general. One thing I really loved about the internship was the strength of the team … working with co-interns. We were constantly working together and collaborating, trying to do the best job we could. We could bounce ideas off of each other.

6.     What was one of your biggest challenges during your internship? (And you can’t say gas money or lack of time J.)

There were a lot of challenges, but the point where I faced the most challenges was towards the beginning in the first few months. You’re really thrown into it and you just have to do it. If you fall, that’s okay and if you fail, it’s not really a failure. You learn from your mistakes and you do it better the next time. I think that was really helped me grow; there were so many challenges. You really had to think on your feet.

Working at the hospital was another big challenge for me. It was a population that I hadn’t worked with before so again, I was nervous. I didn’t think I was able to improvise and provide quality service in the moment. However, by the end of internship, I can say that I felt confident enough to do that.

7.     What was your biggest “aha” moment for your professional and/or personal growth?

Oh goodness! This might sound cheesy, but I would say it was when found out that I got the job that I now have.  I think in that moment I felt like I had reached the pinnacle of all that I had been working towards the last four years. I had become board-certified, and I was able to see all the support that I had received by reading the letters of recommendation. I realized what I was capable of and felt like I had “arrived” … finally.

8.     What would be your one piece of advice to future MusicWorx interns?

One thing I wish I had done is not to be so timid and afraid to dive into a situation. You get so many opportunities as an intern and they are not forced upon you. You have the option to take them or not. My advice would be to take as many as you can, because how many times in your life are you going to be able to get all of these opportunities? Take everything “head on” and don’t be afraid to fail. You will learn from it, and it will make you a better therapist in the end.

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