Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Guest Post: Emily Salomon

Today we have a guest post from a long time reader of our blog! This is her child life story so far! Thanks Emily!

The Adventure of an Aspiring Child Life Specialist: Emily

Hello everyone! My name is Emily and I am a senior at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. I am a Family and Child Development major and psychology minor pursuing the amazing field of child life! I have lived in Pennsylvania for the past 21 years. Two things you should know about me are that I love spending quality time with my family and friends and I am a devoted coffee drinker! 

I became interested in becoming a Certified Child Life Specialist the second semester of my freshman year in college. As a first semester freshman pursuing nursing, I quickly discovered that the field of nursing was not for me. Having a strong desire and passion for working with children, I began researching career options that would allow me to do so in a hospital setting. Through my own online research, I discovered the field of child life. Since then, my passion and motivation to become a Child Life Specialist has continued to grow!

Child life is a career that allows you to make a difference in the lives of hospitalized children through advocating, preparing, educating and most importantly playing! It is certainly not surprising that so many individuals want to pursue a career as a Certified Child Life Specialist, but with popularity comes competition. This past summer I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer with the Johns Hopkins Hospital Child Life Department. Every Tuesday and Thursday I would begin on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and finish my day on the adolescent unit. Having the opportunity to be a child life volunteer at Johns Hopkins Hospital was truly the highlight of my summer! 

As the season was coming to an end, I began working towards the next step of my child life journey: completing child life practicum applications for the spring semester. I cannot tell you the number of hours I poured into my five applications to hospitals in Maryland, Washington D.C. and even as far as Oklahoma. At the end of August I began to send some of my applications out. When application deadlines began to pass, I started receiving emails from child life practicum coordinators about setting up interviews. I was thrilled to have been offered interview opportunities. Last spring I applied for a practicum but was told I could not be offered an interview due to my lack of hospital experience with children. While I understood that practicum positions had become pretty competitive, I think I was still unaware of just how competitive they had become. Many students may qualify for an interview but only one to two individuals are usually chosen per hospital for the position. No pressure, right?              

On the day of my first interview, I walked into the hospital lobby feeling confident that I could thoroughly answer any questions that I would be asked by the practicum coordinator. Little did I know that she would not be coming alone but with another child life employee, which added to the intimidation of the interview. By the time it was finished, my confidence had disappeared. My problem was that I was trying to give the interviewers the specific answer I believed they were wanting to hear. By doing so, I was not expressing my true love and passion that I have for working with children. Unfortunately, I did not come to this realization until after I had completed a second interview with a different hospital. Two weeks after my interviews, I received emails from both hospitals stating that I was not the candidate selected. Yes, I was upset and discouraged, but with having one more scheduled interview, my hope had not completely diminished. The night before my next interview I had my family ask me potential interview questions. The following day I headed into the pediatric hospital for what was my final moment to prove just how passionate and dedicated to this profession I was. The interview started off with a tour of the hospital, which for me was an icebreaker before the questioning began. Immediately I felt my nervousness start to shrink away and the confidence that I had felt before my very first interview returned. Thankfully that confidence stayed with me even after the interview questions began.

I was told that I would hear back from the hospital a week after the interview. I felt like a kid counting down the days to Christmas. Each day that week I checked my email faithfully, waiting to hear as to whether or not I was selected for the student position. Late Friday afternoon the email that I had been waiting for patiently was finally in my inbox. Within a matter of seconds of opening the email my roommate and I were screaming with excitement over the offer of the child life practicum position I had received! I am beyond excited to begin my child life practicum in January of 2016! I understand how intimidating the field of child life can be, but I encourage those of you pursuing this amazing career to not give up. You can do this! Keep searching for opportunities that are available. As a college senior who is continually learning about the field of child life, I have learned that it is vital to let your love and passion for the field be evident!   


Thank you Emily for sharing your story! I know there are plenty more of you who have stories to share! Send us your stories at childlifeblog@gmail.com for a chance to be a guest writer on our blog! 


Rodriguez said...

Hey,Thank you for sharing such an amazing and informative post. Really enjoyed reading it.

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