My International Practicum Experience - Week 5
July 5, 2019 | 4:30 PM
Colton Pettyjohn '19, Social Work Major
Another week in India and I can’t believe that I’m halfway done with my practicum. This past week I was able to work with the children with disabilities, again. I was also invited to join the assistive devices team at a clinic that was four hours away from Ahmedabad. This was a great experience because I not only helped with the assessment of the client’s taste in a device, but I also helped with measuring them for their new device. It was another 16-hour work day, but it was far worth it.
Previously I mentioned how time in India works differently because the people here adapt to change very quickly. However, this week India taught me a different aspect about time: the importance of staying in the present moment.We must experience life in the “Now.” In the United States, we live a fast-paced life. We never take time to stop and smell the roses. We are so busy focusing on whatever we are doing and need to do for the future, that we don’t bother to focus on the here and now.
India has made me slow down. Literally. For instance, when I’m in the field they’re adamant about taking breaks, and sometimes they have to literally force me to sit and take one. It was a weird experience at first because it’s different in the U.S. Often there’s so much work to be done that we can’t catch up. Sometimes taking breaks is even frowned upon, so then taking one just seems stressful. Or, in the worst cases, some jobs don’t give you breaks even though it’s required by law.
After reflecting on this, I realized that I usually don’t let myself take a break. I needed to slow down and focus on the experience I was having. I leave in a little over a month and I don’t want my time here to be just a blur of me working. I want to make sure I’ll remember these experiences and use the knowledge I’m gaining to help others grow as well as use it to continue growing myself.
I encourage you to let yourself stay in the moment, as well. Remember that life is going by fast, and you need to focus on the present to be able to live it to the fullest.