#UDIntern: Learning the Ropes

BY: BILLY MACKINLAY

Follow Billy through his experience at Westwood High School. Read Part 1 of his blog now!

This has been a really good week. I am absolutely loving my internship at Westwood High School under Ms. Whitney Kimbar. Working with her in the Flex Program has truly opened up my understanding of the issues and struggles that high school kids suffering from academic or emotional disabilities deal with on a daily basis. I am also learning that each and every kid must be dealt with in an individualized and unique way. Some are more temperamental and quick to make assumptions or conclusions, others are very laid back and open and understanding of others, and some could absolutely care less about anything. Having experiences with such different people has really broadened my scope of knowledge in dealing with people. There are also many times that I have to navigate interactions and conversations that contain each of these personality types, and it forces you to pick and chose your words carefully, which I really like, it’s almost like a puzzle.

Another thing that I’m really liking about my internship is that I’m really getting to see what it’s like behind the scenes. Being involved in meetings and discussions about students and how to improve their mental health and what we can do as a team is incredibly fascinating. Also learning more about students backgrounds in these meetings helps me converse and work with them more delicately. Knowing more about them aids in my understanding of each students and the hoops I may have to jump through to communicate effectively. It really hammers in the fact that each student must be dealt with in an individualized manner, they cannot be grouped as a unit. I’m having a lot of fun with my internship, and I can’t thank Ms. Kimbar enough for taking me under her wing. Not only has this experience set me ahead of my peers but it is teaching me things that they will not know how to deal with until they are in their first job. Actually getting down to the nitty gritty and being with the students makes it all so much more satisfying.

Billy MacKinlay is a psychology major at the University of Delaware graduating in 2018

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