I’ve said this many times before, but CMU’s emphasis on experiential learning is one of the reasons I love this school. I can be confident that following my graduation, I will leave CMU will valuable skills that will prepare me for the working world. Not only does the university accomplish this through the blend of practical and theoretical thinking in the classroom, but also through the required practicum placements.

There is a ton of freedom in what sort of placement you may find yourself with the practicum. Although I have not yet completed mine, I have seen fellow students placed in positions as pastoral interns, early childhood educators, camp counselors, and marketing editors.

I am currently trying to determine what I will do for a practicum, which I will complete this summer. In my discerning process I have explored some possibilities: working as a summer events program director, a youth mentor, administrative assistant. These options all will allow me to explore new strengths while also nurture current ones.

While I explore possible placements for myself, I am inspired by the stories my friends have told from their practicum. One friend, who had also completed a Psychology degree, worked at Stony Mount Penitentiary doing mediation work; listening to the stories of the inmates and helping ensure they have access to the resources and support they need, and communicating that to the Parole Officer. Her position at Stony gave her the proper experience that helped prepare her for her current work in law enforcement. The practicum becomes about so much more than just school.

There’s value in gaining practical experience through the practicum program at CMU. It is an opportunity to put into practice so many of the ideas you get from the classroom into the real world. The program has the potential to lead you toward your career paths, but can lead to a lot of self-discovery—giving students an opportunity to discover their passions as they prepare for life after graduation.

Alex Tiessen is one of CMU’s Student Ambassadors

Learn more about practica at CMU