Student Spotlight: Sorojini Abass, PsyD program
The life of a clinical psychology student can be tough. Heavy course loads, licensing requirements, and client engagements can take a toll. And then if you’re a working parent?
When Saybrook PsyD student and mother Sorojini Abass experienced adversity and financial restraint, she didn’t falter – and she came out on top. She’s now interning at the prestigious Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.
You can hear the tiredness in Sorojini’s voice at the end of the day, but when mentioning her work at Baylor she lights up. “It has been excellent”, she says. “Baylor College of Medicine has outstanding supervisors, interns and post doctoral interns. It is a very nurturing environment; they know that you're there to learn and so they're prepared to teach. It's very nurturing and they teach well.”
“The challenge was to hold my end up,” she says. “Carry on with things as normal, try to put a brave face for my daughter. Luckily she adjusted well, so when these adversities arise you just have to keep going and look forward that something is going to work out. During the time that I was going through that rough period there, Dr. (Kristopher) Lichtanski (her lead faculty member at Saybrook) was calling me on a daily basis, and that helped me tremendously, to know that I got support from him.”
Sorojini offers helpful advice to Saybrook students seeking or presently training in a practicum or internship. “The first thing I would say is go in with an open mind. Do not go there riding on a high horse and feel that you know it all. Sometimes you're in places where - and this has been my experience also - there are people who haven’t been as well trained who may feel kind of threatened. They feel like you're trying to tell them how to do things and they've been there longer on the job.”
You have to be sensitive, Sorojini urges. “You have to listen more than talk and try to figure out your environment first before you know that's it's safe for you to come out and say anything. At least that's what I have found. I know some people may not agree - they may feel that you assert yourself and do what you have to do. But I think as a pre-doctoral intern, you do have to have patience. You have to listen and figure out what's going on before you say anything.”
But when the time comes to speak, Sorojini says, Saybrook helped her have something important to say. “Saybrook educated and trained me in the humanistic tradition: seeing the patient holistically and not focusing on just labeling and diagnosis,” she says. “I've learned a lot, and I take that with me every day. I try to look at everything - the whole person.”