Next week I will be starting my last 7 weeks of IPEs. As I mentioned when we started IPEs it is a part of the program where you go once a week and spend five hours doing a mini practicum. I briefly remember writing my first blog on this topic and it was all about the first two placements I had done, so here is a bit of an update on where else I have been and what it’s been like for me.
For my third IPE I got the privilege of getting to go to the Burnaby youth corrections facility, man can I tell you that was scary and rewarding on so many levels. Now having said the word scary I do not mean it in any way, shape or form towards the kids, I mean it from a sense of my own personal fears. One of my biggest fears I have had for as long as I can remember is being locked in a space with no way out, I have a major need for control and know that I can leave my surroundings at any time. Now having a fear like that this facility is not a place for a person like me. I even tried to get out of going there and have my placements switched because I was so scared, luckily for me it was too late to change and I got to go and have one of the best experiences ever. The facility holds youth 13-18 which is one of my favorite ages to work with. While I was there I help tutor school, which was very exciting to me because education and knowledge are a huge passion for me, it was very entertaining being there helping them with their school work because it’s truly amazing how much we forget after leaving school for a short period of time. They all work at their own pace and are at different levels of schooling, so it was interesting to get to practically relearn things along with the youth. My experience with the youth was actually one of my favorite experiences.
When I was about 14 was when I started getting into trouble myself so having turned my life around completely over the last years, it was a humbling experience as well as I felt privileged to get to go in and show them by my actions and example that it does get better and there is another life out there for them, they can have a better future, I was honest with them about my recovery when the opportunities was presented and I know a few of the youth appreciated it because they opened up to me and were excited to see me every week. It was sad to leave after meeting all the terrific youth I did but I am ever so grateful for the experience on many different levels.
My next two placements and my upcoming placements are all that residential living facilities. All three are similar with some differences, all in New West and all harm reduction sites. My last blog that I wrote was all about harm reduction and how my views have changed recently, I was going through that change while attending these two placements. Both facilities have offered me many great experiences and have helped me gain skills that I really will need to have in the field as well as let me practice skills I have and things I have learned in school.
Something that has come up over the last few months of doing our placements is students becoming complacent, it’s understandable that some places are absolutely not going to be what you specifically want or you might not have the experience of your dreams, but in order for you to get the most out of your experience I have found that I need to complain less and just jump in both feet. Interact with clients, use your knowledge to make a difference and just take every week as a new window of opportunity because If not I can guarantee you will be miserable. In my experience I have learned such great things from the simplest of experiences like answering a phone, cooking a meal and spending time with clients all things no book will prepare you for. Make the best of all your experiences, not everything can be shiny all the time but you can always find a silver shiny lining if you look hard enough.
Take care and feel free to leave any questions below.