22 November 2008

Hot Potatoes for Thanksgiving

As your intern site prepares for the holidays, you may see tension build among the staff at the workplace or among clients visiting the agency. There may be two reasons: the pragmatic issue of closing for a holiday (or keeping staffing up during a holiday), and the emotional issue of going to family gatherings.

Holidays are often a source of stress. Even in the happiest of gatherings (when the stress may be called eustress, with "eu" meaning "good"), anxiety may rule the day.

Anxiety is hard to define. First, it expresses itself differently for different people. Second, we humans tend to react to it rather than analyze it. Here's a good description that most people can relate to: holding onto anxiety is like handling hot potatoes in your hands. You want to get rid of the hot potatoes as quickly as possible, and that's a lot like anxiety—people tend to toss it off as quickly as possible, and that's how anxiety moves from one person to the next.

Just by being aware that anxiety travels from person to person, you can help to slow the process. You can also find a little humor at Thanksgiving dinner when someone asks you to "pass the potatoes."

The content on this blog is not offered as legal advice or guidance. Consult your college, advisor, or internship supervisor for help with issues surrounding internships. © 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Dr. Bold is a co-author of the book Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. More about Dr. Bold can be learned at www.marybold.com

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