Saturday, October 11, 2014

Offer Day Advice

I remember (quite vividly) sitting on the floor with Sydney, in my apartment room, with notes from interviews, hospital demographics, chocolate, and cups of coffee spread all over the floor trying to make what (still to this day) felt like the hardest decision of my life...  How did we end up this way, you ask? 
It was Child Life Internship Offer Day... In child life world, this is comparable to the NFL Draft or future presidency nominations. 

So, you've made it through all the interviews, and now it's the night before offer day. Are you ready?

First things first, decide whether you are going to leave your phone on loud (like Sydney) or silent, allowing any calls go to voicemail (like Caroline).

DO NOT STARE AT YOUR PHONE ALL DAY. What's the saying?? "A watched pot never boils." You will drive yourself crazy. If you have to look at it, pick every couple of hours or a specific time to look. Warn your friends and family ahead of time if you are leaving your phone on silent. Remember, the Child Life Council says that hospitals have until 5PM eastern time to call, and like us, you might get calls later on in the evening as well (and the next morning).

Go ahead and be okay with the fact that the phone might not ring the first day, and that's okay. Don't give up hope. You might just be a hospital's second choice (or their phones might be down), and there is still a chance your phone will ring the next day.

We were both very lucky in our internship search, both receiving more than three offers on offer day. The Child Life Council asks that internship candidates respond yes/no within 24 hours of receiving an offer. While it sounds like a decent amount of time, it will fly by. 

There are several ways things can play out on offer day: 

One offer: This choice may be a blessing in disguise. You received one offer, so your choice is simple! Start apartment hunting! We know this may not have been your top choice; it may not have even been in your top 5, but take it! Hundreds of hopeful candidates applied to hospitals all over the country, but this hospital chose you! Step out on faith, break that comfort bubble, and savor every second of it! 

Two offers: Maybe you know right away which hospital is your choice. If not...get out your notes from your interviews, go to the hospital's websites, and look at housing options around the hospitals. Consider what season you will be interning are you headed to Wisconsin from Florida; you may have to invest in some winter wear. Ultimately, choose the hospital you feel like you are the best fit for and where you can learn and be your best self.

More than two offers: Wait, is that my phone ringing again? Seven voice-mails? What? I've never had that many voice-mails ever! The excitement builds, but heed this advice-- Don't let the pride build with it. Your fellow classmates may still be waiting for just one voice-mail, so it may be best to keep this exciting news to yourself (Or share with your Sydney, if you have one :))
Take a step back. Breathe. Go back to your list of information from your interviews. Which hospitals were you drawn to? Which hospital can offer you the best educational internship experience possible? Call people you know have worked or interned there in the past. Call your adviser at school for advice. Start eliminating as soon as you get that third offer. If you know you do not want to accept a particular one, be courteous. Go ahead and turn it down; then they can call their second choice, and another nerve-wrecked candidate will receive a call!

No offers: Give yourself some time to be upset, you worked hard for this, and it didn't happen. Eat some ice cream or chocolate... Then pick yourself back up and think about what you can do differently the next time around. Look at your volunteering you have at least 100? (I heard from a CLS Intern supervisor that the average number of volunteer hours is higher than 200!) Did you complete a child life practicum, or do any job shadowing? Have you worked in other environments with children? If you need an internship to graduate, does your program allow you intern at a non-profit organization?

Sharing with family and friends: BE CAREFUL. Friends, significant others, and family may try to persuade you to choose one hospital over another whether due to location, status, size, etc. 
(I chose not to tell my friends and family where my offers were from until I had made my decision because of this. -Caroline)
(I chose to tell Caroline and my parents to get their feedback, but in the end it was my decision. -Sydney)

Other tips:
Be sure to check your email inbox and junk mail periodically for rejection letters. That may seem like a bad omen, but if you interviewed with over 12 hospitals like we did, then crossing hospitals off your list can actually be a relief. Plus, if you are waiting to accept an offer just to see if your top hospital is going to call, when you know for sure they aren't you can accept your offer and start getting excited (They picked you)!

Good Luck to everyone! Let us know how your offer day went! We are so excited for all the new Spring Interns!