As we bid 2018 goodbye, my time as an Olive Branch Counseling Associates Intern is also coming to an end. Looking back on the previous year, I see that my time spent here has been such a large part of it. So much of my life has changed within the past year, and so much of that change has been in no small part due to my experience as an intern. I know that I have only been a small part in the Olive Branch family, and that it will continue to grow and thrive long after I leave, but Olive Branch has played such an enormous role in the development of my career. I started out as a hopeful graduate student and now leave with my master’s degree in the process of obtaining my license. If you asked me 8 months ago if I ever thought that this day would come, I would probably laugh. Then it seemed so far away, so unattainable. Now, here I am, wrapping up my internship, ready to begin my career and all I can feel is an overwhelming sense of gratitude.
I am grateful to my fellow students and interns who stood by my side throughout the whole journey. They were there to validate my feelings of fear, answer my questions when I felt lost, and to reassure me that most of the time they felt just as lost as I did. I am grateful for the Olive Branch staff who were so unfailingly kind to me in my time there. I felt so much comfort in knowing that I had such a wonderful group of individuals to turn to. I am grateful for the opportunity to work in such diverse settings under the supervision of Olive Branch. Not many interns can say that they were able to work in a hospital, daycare, shelter, private practice, and school during their internship experience. I am grateful to all of the leaders and staff at each of these locations that worked with me and helped to stimulate my growth as a counselor. I am grateful to my clients as it has been an absolutely privilege to have worked with them.
Lastly, I am grateful to my supervisor Louella for all of her support and guidance throughout my experience. Louella saw something within in me during our interview and took it upon herself to invest her time and energy in me. She took me under her wing and drawing from her own expertise, provided me with the tools I needed to be able to flourish on my own. This entire experience would not have been possible without her and the excellence of the internship program at Olive Branch is owed to her. Beyond her expertise and guidance, I have found her to be a kind and genuine person. I did not expect my supervisor to care for me in such a way as she has shown me and for this, I am especially grateful. Thank you, Louella. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work at Olive Branch and for essentially shaping my life for the past 8 months. I am honored to have been a part of this wonderful practice. As I say goodbye, although it is bittersweet, I know that I have made lasting connections here, both in the knowledge I have gained as well as the relationships. I cannot more profoundly express my gratitude to this place and all those connected to it. It will forever hold a special place in my heart as I walk into what the new year brings.
By: Hayley Nelson