Before starting my internship, I was required to read a book called Who Moved My Cheese – a story about dealing with changes in life. We recently revisited the book and discussed some of the metaphors and lessons in it. This seems fitting, as my internship is almost finished now, and it’s time to start facing the next big life change: entering the professional world.
The book uses cheese as a metaphor the status quo/what makes us feel comfortable/our purpose/our current relationships/etc. Eventually, the cheese is consumed, as cheese is meant to be. We’re then faced with a choice: do we go out looking for new cheese (i.e. do we change with the changes) or do we stay put, mistakenly expecting our old cheese to reappear? Then, if we choose to change with the changes and go out looking for new cheese, what happens when we don’t find it when and where we expect?
I remember when I was first reading this book. I was anticipating starting my internship with the Music Therapy Center, and very grateful that the life change that I had been anticipating for the previous 4 years was finally happening. But the process of getting an internship had not gone as planned at all. In the end, it was clearly for the best. But in the 8 months before being accepted into the internship at MTTCA, as I repeatedly couldn’t find my new cheese, I became discouraged.
I applied to 5 internships initially, and thought for sure someone would offer me cheese! Four rejected me and one discontinued their internship before my application even got to them. My neatly laid out plan and timeline for where and when I would find my much-anticipated new cheese was useless. I had to start the search all over again.
I’m sure glad I didn’t stop looking for my cheese! The next round of 4 applications brought me two cheese (read “internship”) offers, in an area of music therapy I had not originally considered. And as I sit here typing this blog post, I’m filled with overwhelming gratitude for how perfect this cheese has been for me. It has helped me discover and shape my life calling and dream. Not only that, but it has also built in me invaluable skills, given me beautiful friendships, and equipped me to pursue my own potential just as we strive to help our clients pursue theirs.
The moral of this cheese story is that even when you’re anticipating the end of your cheese, there may not be new cheese where you expect it. You have to keep searching, maybe trying new routes and new angles. Maybe try looking for a different type of cheese – maybe you need to look for gouda instead of brie. This moral is a good one to reflect upon as I start looking for my new cheese (read “job”). It may not be where I expect it to be, and it may not be the type of cheese I think it should be. But, just like this internship, it will be exactly what I need.