Trainee burnout is a concept that has been openly discussed with supervisors more during my internship training than during all of graduate school. I have been fortunate to have supervisors who ask, “Have you eaten lunch today?” “Did you get a chance to sit and conceptually think about that case?” and even, “What did you do this weekend that was fun for you?” It was in those moments it became clear: I was stuck in the graduate school mentality. By this I mean the constant pursuit of the next step or professional accomplishment.
Graduate school involves working tremendously hard and is the first milestone to securing your “dream job.” One semester and one deadline at time, until four to five years go by and trainees have to conquer yet another milestone—the predoctoral internship. For me, matching at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital as a trauma psychology intern was a moment when I believed—and still believe—hard work pays off in the end.
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