Madison Mussell (2015)

Madi completed her practicum in the 2015W session.

1. Who was your practicum partner organization, and what did your project entail?

I was partnered with the YWCA Strive Program, which works to help prepare youth who are aging out of foster care for adulthood. My project was to help Strive create a written curriculum for their workshops. I did so by attending and participating in the workshops, writing notes, consulting with Strive employees and youth, and compiling all of the information I gathered into a working document.

2. How well prepared did you feel entering the Research Practicum?

I was definitely nervous going into the Research Practicum, but once you get going you realize that you have already learned the necessary tools in other FNIS courses that you need succeed in the practicum. The practicum is a huge learning opportunity, and can definitely feel overwhelming at times, but I was very fortunate to have a supportive group of peers as well as a very supportive practicum instructor, Daniel Justice, who was always there to assist me when I needed help.

3. What is one thing you learned from your Practicum experience?

I remember at the start of practicum, saying to Daniel, “I work well under pressure, so I usually do my assignments really close to the due date.” He said back to me, “That won’t work for practicum.” I scoffed, but he was right! I still do work well under pressure, but practicum requires so much planning and work that you cannot possibly do all that work last-minute. I learned to really set realistic timelines for myself, set goals, and achieve those goals. This has continued to help me throughout my academic and personal goals since I finished the program.

4. What was the highlight of your Practicum experience?

Seeing everything come together in the end was the highlight for me. The entire process was really great, but seeing my presentation and project come together was amazing, and delivering the hard-copy of my final project to Strive felt so good. As someone who is terrified of public speaking, the idea of having to do a 20-minute presentation in front of a huge group of people made me very nervous; I had also requested to go early on, but ended up going last! (Thanks, Daniel!) But when I got up there to speak, knowing that I had spent so much time working on a project and pulling everything together, it was such a great experience to get to share that with everyone who came to witness.

5. What is some advice that you would give to future Practicum students?

It might not feel like it, but you’ve got this! The practicum is a lot of work, but it’s all worth it, and with the support of your instructor, your peers, and your organization supervisor, you will make it through and create something amazing! Trust in yourself and trust in the knowledge you’ve acquired that has led you to this point.