August 02, 2014

SLU AT Student Experiences Personal and Professional Growth During Summer Internship

Summer Internship Blog Post - Washington University
By: Brittany Koops (MAT Class of 2015)

When I transferred to SLU last summer as a post-baccalaureate student I had so many expectations, thoughts, and hopes for the upcoming year and even more so towards to summer internship. While my internship at Washington University in Saint Louis was nothing like I had dreamt, it was still more than I could ask for.

I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first. I didn’t know what to expect going into the internship, and I was somewhat saddened that I was staying in Saint Louis instead of returning home to be with my friends. While I was skeptical I went in with a positive attitude, and knew I’d give it nothing but my best. From the first day I walked in I felt welcomed and trusted as a student. The amount of freedom they gave me made me feel competent in my skills. The staff wasn’t over bearing and constantly hovering over me. I had space to work, and practice the skills that I had the past year to learn.

Brittany Koops with Washington Univ. AT Jacob Blasingame MAT, ATC (SLU MAT Class of 2011)
I’m the type of person who hates being wrong. When a professor or instructor hovers over me I feel nervous, incompetent and not trusted. This causes me to freeze up, and I’m not always able to practice or show my knowledge to my full potential. While I was allowed to take control, I was confident knowing that if I did need help that the staff would be right there to eagerly answer any questions or help me if I needed it. The athletic trainers at Wash U were all friendly, and open to helping me reach my full potential.

This past year has been a real struggle for me, It is the first time I’ve ever been away from my family and friends. This has caused me to feel out of place, and uncomfortable. When I don’t feel like I belong then I crawl back into my shell and hide. I sit back and watch more than try to stand out and show off how much I actually know. This past summer at Wash U has really helped me gain the confidence in myself that I will need this upcoming year, and even more so in my future. I felt welcomed by all the staff, and that made me feel like I was wanted and a part of the team this past summer. I wasn’t afraid to speak up, or communicate with the coaches. The compliments from the coaches at the soccer camp on how I went above and beyond when I could to help them made me feel like I finally wasn’t passing the years by in Saint Louis unnoticed. I realized the coaches could see my passion, and I just needed to show it more, and take that drive to allow myself to open up and not be afraid to be wrong and practice my skills. I need to not be hesitant to ask questions, or speak up about what I believe.

I was wrong in an initial assessment of an injury once during the summer, and the world didn’t end like I thought it would. The summer went on, and I learned from my mistake. I learned to be more careful, and to communicate better. I gained confidence in my assessment skills, and learned to trust my own knowledge. I learned different ways of taping and modifications to the special tests, that can help me improve my assessment skills even more. All in all, I feel that the confidence I gained these past few months is the most valuable thing I can take away. Without confidence I won’t be able to learn more. I need to carry this confidence with pride, and not be afraid to show off the skills that I have learned. By taking this new found confidence I will be happier, and it will be easier to find a place to belong here in Saint Louis. I will no longer be hiding back in the shadows just waiting for the semester to pass by. I now look forward to my upcoming clinical rotation year, and finding my place and confidence there, to really be able to practice and master the skills I’ve spent years of my life studying.

Students in the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Program have a required internship in the summer between their two professional years in the program. This blog post details a student's reflection on their internship experience.

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