The last few weeks of October have been very busy. Mostly because I was prepping (or worrying) about our second mock exams. The Health Psychology mock exams are a real test of mental and emotional strength (aside from the obvious academic exam that it is). Even my ex-lawyer classmate said she did not have to go through anything quite as hard. Day 1 starts with a 30 minute period where you can read a referral and try to calm your nerves before actually going in to the interview. After that is a 1 hour assessment interview with a patient (actor). You never know what you’re going to get. While interviewing is already nerve-wrecking enough, you must also try to forget about the fact that you have a camera with you in the room, which feeds your session into the next room where 3 examiners are watching you. After the 1 hour interview, you go straight into 3.5 hours of writing up your assessment report. You hand it in, and that’s the end of the first day…

…except it extends into the first night. See, once you hand in your report, you are given 2 case studies to research/prepare for over-night. Plus you have to make sure you brush up on whatever illness came up in the interview. You also need to have a good reflection of your strengths and weaknesses, and be sure you can justify whatever you wrote in the 3 hour frenzy. So basically you have to accomplish 3 things over-night: 1. Reflect on your interview and report (easier said than done because the second-guessing game begins here…did I say the right thing? did I miss any questions?) 2. Research on one case study that is usually in the form of another patient referral 3. And research on a second case study which often revolves around a research question. There is no rest for you. Luckily, I was the first person who did the mocks this time, which meant I started my interview at 9am and ended at 1:30pm. Last time I interviewed at 1:30pm, ended by 6pm, then got home at around 7pm. By that time I was already so tired and had little energy to do the over-night case studies. This time though, thankfully, I had enough energy to prepare…

Then comes the second day of mocks, which is the oral exam. It’s like having to prepare for the chopping board. 1 hour to present your case studies, and to get quizzed by the 3 examiners who watched you the previous day. After that, at the end of the day, they give us feedback on how we did… which is often the hardest part because by that time you are so tired already that receiving feedback and criticism can be a real challenge to one’s ego.


And I sometimes ask myself why I am doing this. Why do I put myself through this? One psychologist once said that we psychologists have one thing in common: we are very good at coping with exam anxiety. And in a way, this is true I guess, because there is no way that I would have reached this stage if I couldn’t cope with exam anxiety that well. Now all we have left is the real exam in Feb. Oh boy. At least I have a few months to keep working on my skills.

Growing can be painful. This process is particularly painful, but I was very glad to know that at least I have improved in some way.

Moving on to happier things, here are a few photos of some good things that happened during the last week.


I’ve been attending yoga classes for 3 weeks now. I’m starting to like what they call Vinyasa yoga…reminds me of our stretching routines when I used to do jazz in high school. However on Sunday morning I tried Yin yoga, which was a slower-paced stretching session coupled with mindfulness. It was good.


Strawberries!!! Strawberries often mean that summer is coming! Louis and I went to the Takapuna markets after the Rugby game (which by the way, we’ve won AGAIN! wooh! Go All Blacks!) and found stalls selling strawberries. We thought it was too early to be harvesting strawberries at this time but apparently there is a breed that likes the colder weather…it is very plump and juicy!


And here’s me enjoying a strawberry before yoga class.


An All Black Burger haha. Louis took me out to lunch after the first day of mocks because he knew how stressed out I was. It was really sweet of him, he left work then picked me up. Good thing too because it was raining so hard that day it would have been miserable going home by bus.


And here is Dan Carter, who I think is the hero of the rugby finals against Australia. I watched the game with Louis, my dad, and my brother. We woke up at 5am to watch the game live from England. Mom was up too, but she was cooking pancakes and bacon for our early breakfast. It was a really good start to the day. GO NZ ALL BLACKS! <3

Life-date: October already?!

Here’s an update:

  1. From now on, I will answer to Master. Haha. I graduated from my Master’s degree in Health Psychology (which comprised of one year of papers and one year of thesis) last Tuesday. To be honest, I was not as excited as I was when I graduated from Undergrad. Probably because I am in the midst of my third and final year of postgrad, which is the internship year. Nevertheless, it was a good day (though you can see the stress on my face… I got an urgent call from work on that day regarding a complex patient of mine while we were having our french crepes during my celebratory family lunch). It was fun graduating with my classmates (there were 9 of us in our year), and it was good to celebrate with family and friends.


2. Louis and I turned 5 this year, and we went to Queenstown (which we’ve formally proclaimed one of our favorite cities) to celebrate. I swear, everywhere we looked, it was like a painting- actually, it is probably what the best paintings hope to be! We went in August and stayed for a few days. My favorite part was going on a roadtrip to this little town called Glenorchy (which I’ve heard was also used in the Lord of the Rings franchise. It was a really magical place). We were supposed to go bungy-jumping, but I chickened out. Sorry Louis, you should have just booked without my consent! Haha.


3. In the name of self-care I bought myself a coloring book for adults a few months ago. It combines my favorite therapy, which is Mindfulness, with an all time favorite childhood past-time, which is coloring. I even bought myself a new set of coloring pencils. I tell you now that I still have not finished coloring in this page. Sometimes it seems more stress than relaxation!


4. I can’t wait for the internship to be over. I have a feeling I am burning out, but I’m just telling myself that I’ve got a few months to go and then my life will be decided. While work has been stressful lately, one upside of being in this internship is getting to meet a lot of amazing and influential people in my field. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, I have an awesome supervisor who loves books. I believe she has a new book every month, and the great thing is she always shares it with me. This is one of the books she’s let me borrow for the year, and it’s been really helpful in terms of learning more about myself, and helping clients. Another book she let me borrow is Irvin Yalom’s book entitled: The Gift of Therapy. I swear, every chapter is relevant because as soon as I finish it, whatever lesson or wisdom nugget that Yalom leaves in his pages becomes very useful for my next client. I’ve been reading it through out the year. If you are a starting therapist like myself, I highly recommend this book for you.


And I’ve titled this post ‘Life-date’ because I wanted to combine ‘life’ and ‘update’. Wasn’t that clever? I know I have not been present in the blog world much, but my best friend and I had decided to re-kindle our love for writing. We used to keep diaries as kids, and we’d have sessions where we read our journal entries to each other. We were probably the earliest blogging community, us two. Haha. Anyway, my second mock exams are coming up, and our written exam is coming up too. I, meanwhile, am coming down with the flu, which is not nice. I hope to get better soon!

Until next time, dear readers!

TNB (thenecessaryblog) 

Just Keep Swimming!

Dear Gorgeous Readers,

It has been a long while since I last posted. It has been a crazy, challenging, fun and demanding year so far. Oh, which reminds me, it is June 1 today, so happy half a year! In a way, it feels like time has flown by fast. Before I knew it, I was starting my internship and meeting the lovely team that I am working with for 1 year. And then I was driving a long distance on my own for the very first time. Having a job located in the south of Auckland meant that I had to do a 1-2 hour drive everyday, over the Harbor Bridge. And that was not an easy job for me, especially at the start. The most driving I did before that was probably to and from the grocery which was 10 minutes away our house! Imagine the anxiety and stress that I went through. Luckily my boyfriend was kind enough to sit in the passenger’s seat and take me driving to my destination. We practiced driving 1 month before my internship started, and for the first 2 weeks, he drove with me to work, then he’d take the car and drive it to his work, then he’d drive back to my work, and then we’d drive back to the Shore together… and then he drives back home.

Seriously, how loving is that?

But now I am doing well driving on my own, and it may sound quite shallow, but I never imagined that I’d get used to it. It’s a nice feeling being able to go to work in my own car. Oh yes, I bought my first car! My dad let me loan from him, but it is my car. I didn’t like it at first because I thought it looked too manly, but now we’re friends. I like my car, it’s my baby. Haha.

And how is internship, you might ask? Well, for those of you familiar with my blog, you’ll know that I’d geek out over anything psychology-related. You can say I am living out my dream, I’m finally working as a registered (intern) psychologist. I am seeing patients. I am constantly challenged, affected, motivated, anxious, and thankfully, feeling fulfilled with my work. It is tiring. I went to this seminar lately on self-care, and our speaker was saying that we psychologists do have a hard job. We may not be saving lives in a way that paramedics or doctors do, but it doesn’t make our job any easier. We don’t just stitch people up and go. We allow them to release their feelings, their stresses, their worries. We process their stories (no matter how hard they may be…and let me tell you, I have heard some pretty sh*t stories already), and we stay with their feelings.

We stay with them. We stay in their dark place. We feel their pain, we try to make sense of it. We listen, and we don’t instruct, but we hope to guide them to their own realizations. We hope to take their hands and lead them out of their dark place.

In my first few months as an intern, I have carried my patients’ stories. I cried with them, I held their hand, I worried about them. I felt anger for them, indignation, and even despair. Their battle scars from living inflicted wounds upon my own skin.

And at the same time, their success became my success. Seeing them find the light after being in such a dark place was my relief. I would rejoice when they would come back for a second session and say, “Hey, you know what? This stuff actually works!” I am privileged to know these people in a way that no one else, not even their closest relationships, would know them.

I am only beginning to realize how messy this job is. And part of my professional development also requires that I learn to understand myself more. I must admit, it has been painful, but at least I can understand what my patients go through as well. Clearly, I have a lot to learn as a young Padawan Psychologist. But I do get constant support from my super-human of a supervisor, from my fun and excellent team at work, from my awesome fellow interns, and also from our great program as well.

So don’t worry about me, dear readers. There is no other job that I would rather do (and I pray that my feelings stay that way). I am slowly swimming, and trying to keep my head afloat, and with all my supports in place, I know I’ll be fine.

Until the next update!

TNB (thenecessaryblog)