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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


If only she'd called a few days ago... aka, the post that makes me cry

Maybe I wouldn't be avoiding her.

After my interview on monday, I felt hopeful. Even though I didn't feel like the interview went super well, I thought that maybe there was hope for me getting a job, that maybe I had some good skills, and mayb I could find something that would make me happy.

But then I went to school.

On tuesday, I went to school for the first time since I got the email from my advisor that I was getting kicked out. I really didn't want to go in, but I have stuff I need to do (finish up client paperwork; clean out my desk). I also wanted to see if the official notification that I was getting kicked out was there (I'm getting dizzy as I write this).

I kept panicking and deciding to put off going, but in the end, I made myself go.

I checked my mailbox - no letter from the department. I checked my other mailbox, no letter from the department. So, I'm not going to get any official notification? This bothers me.

I saw a non-tenure track prof who I like, and she asked cheerily how my break was. I told her I'd been kicked out, and she was shocked (that and outrage, for your info, are truly the best way to respond to someone in these circumstances - it's the only thing that makes the kicked out/fired person feel relatively okay with the first reaction). She noted that another student who had been kicked out last year was trying to do licensure, and said she would check with her to see how that was working out for her. she also said she would talk to people about jobs and forward stuff to me. That was really nice and helpful, but it made me sad and verging on depressed talking about it, and I teared up as we talked. I was surprised too that she didn't know already.

I then talked to the secretary of the clinic, who is a casual friend of mine. I asked her if she knew I'd been kicked out (she typically knows all the dirt). She didn't know, and she too was shocked. We talked for a while, and I again teared up and felt badly.

I ran into two other students, who I didn't tell. One is super competitive and I'm sure she thinks I deserve it. The other is a first year, and he may well know as his advisor is chatty.

I saw another friend and asked if she knew Id been kicked out (since her advisor is the chair of the clinical area, I assumed she'd know). She was outraged. I got teary again talking to her - but it was helpful as she actually volunteered at the agency where I am applying to work. I had to end our conversation prematurely as I had a meeting with a faculty member who was my clinical supervisor to talk about the paperwork I was doing - and she also wanted to talk about being my reference. This worried me. I think her exact words were that we needed to "get on the same page."

Everyone I talked to asked me how I was doing. I don't know how to answer that. I definitely don't want to say how I really feel (cuz I'm private and cuz I need good references, so I don't want them worrying about my mental health), but I also don't want anyone to get the idea I feel okay about all of this. So, I have been saying that I am okay (said unenthusiastically) and note that it hasn't been easy. When people ask (and they all do) what I'm "going to do" I note that it has been hard to really think about that a ton, but that I am trying to find a job, if for no other reason than that I need money (if for no other reason than to pay the shrink I am hoping will help me through this!).

So, when I met with the prof, she asked all of those things - and I got teary again. It's hard because I just haven't really been talking to people. I've been very isolated and haven't talked to really anyone from my program - much less talking to people from my program in person.

I'm worried about what kind of reference she will give me. Even when she is giving a good reference, they tend to seem fairly lukewarm (I know this from talking to many students about this - and we all get worried about her refs). Part of me wanted to let her know that because the studnet who was kicked out a few years ago sued the department and won, she *had* to give me a good reference - but that sounded a little blackmaily to me. Plus, I think it behooves the department to help me find a job and to support me. It makes it far less likely I (or another student) would file a grievance.

So, she asked me about the job and then she asked me what I was "worried" about with the job. I wasn't sure what she was getting at, so I just talked about location/safety concerns. She then asked if I had any concerns about getting along with people. Oh dear. She noted that I have had significant issues with three of my clinical supervisors (which is why I am dependent upon her for a reference, sadly enough) and wondered what I thought about ensuring this doesn't keep occurring. I started crying.

I haven't talked about what else was going on at the end of last semester - but things were getting bad at my practicum. I see this as being partly about how much stress I was under trying to TA the absolute worst and most labor intensive class ever, having a very difficult caseload of clients, taking a class, and trying to propose 2 dissertations. It is also partly because the supervisor at my practicum was a bully and cruel. I knew I could not work with him, and went to him directly about that, then I went to the training director, and then talked to him again, etc. I felt I was handling it appropriately because his style (and my reactions to it) was having a significant negative effect on me, my work with my clients, and my feelings about the practicum. It all became difficult because they don't really let you switch supervisors (which many many places do - as many places know that not everyone works well together). In my defense, I will also say the other student who worked with him felt similarly to me, so it wasn't all about me.

That said, I do apparently have difficulties in relationships with some people. I think that I have a great deal of difficulty being in a subordinate role to people I don't respect or like, it tends to make me distressed, and I tend to need to talk to other people to get help. However, I do think that I don't tend to behave badly - I just "complain" a lot to try to get some help from others in figuring out how to understand what is going on and how to deal with it.

So, back to my supervisor asking me about my plans to ensure this doesn't keep happening. I kind of felt punched in the stomach. I'd have to be a dolt to NOT think about this a lot given how the semester ended with getting kicked out of the program and my practicum going ot hell and a handbasket (btw, I'm not going to give more details on this for confidentiality reasons). Part of why it has been so hard for me to deal with all of this is that I have wondered if I will ever fit anywhere - if who I am will ever match any environment. If I will ever be able to handle things better and not have problems with someone in my work environment.

I told her that how I understood all of this is that these three people were objectively very difficult people to work with - which she acknowledged - and that the problem wasn't that I was causing problems or not getting along - the problem was that these people affected me far more strongly than they ought. Now, my understanding of this actually involves a lot more self-blame and shame - but I felt like I didn't want to share this. I get she might have concerns about recommending me given all of this (plus getting kicked out) - but what would it really cost her to just focus on her experiences with me (which have always been good - so anything she knows is either from me or hearsay - she has never had problems with me), and her estimations of my clinical work (which should be good)?

I left the meeting with her feeling very depressed, and I had to go home. I had some work I had to do, and leaving then meant I had to come back - but I was spent, I had no more energy.

I went home and cried.

And today, I basically spent the day in bed. I think I haven't showered since monday.

back to the title of the email - a friend called today to hang out. I haven't called her back. Had she called monday, I would totally have done something with her. Today, I feel too badly.

In a post soon to come, I will tell you all what my advisor has advised me to tell people why I "left" the program. It's a doozy. I'd like to add that shhe has been extremely concerned and solicitous since she kicked me out. Had she only been a fraction this helpful BEFORE I got kicked out, none of this would have happened.


At 6:57 AM, Blogger BrightStar said...

Ugh. That all sounded very hard to face. I think you handled it well, but it sounds like the people you interacted with were generally not so thoughtful (other than the non-tenure track prof -- she sounded kind and helpful! yay for people like that!). I'm sorry Tuesday was so rough.

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Twirly said...

I wish you strength and maybe you can hang out with your friend soon - that might be nice.

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Twirly said...

I wish you strength and maybe you can hang out with your friend soon - that might be nice.

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Anastasia said...

the fact that she's turned helpful and solicitous all of a sudden just pisses me off. and you "left" the program? I don't even know what to say.

At 12:00 PM, Blogger Limon de Campo said...

Wow, you've had a really difficult time. I'm sorry you've had to deal with all of this. I hope things get better soon!

At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 11:12 PM, Blogger Lucy said...

Grr! to your advisor and supervisor and all the unhelpful, unsupportive people.
I'm so sorry, Shrinks. *hugs*


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