On the very first day of my internship, our director addressed the entire group of interns and said this: “I have one hope for each of you. I hope that this is your heart internship. I hope that even if you don’t end up in theatre education as a professional, I hope that this experience captures your heart.”
And it did.
I will always remember the rainy day during my final semester in college when I got home from the gym and discovered a missed call from a Seattle phone number. The message on my voicemail made me dance and sing and cheer in my apartment. I was accepted to the education internship at Seattle Children’s Theatre.
At that time, I was sure I had found what I would do for the rest of my life: teach creative drama. And I could hardly believe I was getting an opportunity to sharpen my skills with some of the best teaching artists in the country. My summer in Seattle was unforgettable – I was challenged and supported, I learned about myself as a person and as an artist, and I made connections and friendships that have carried on long past my fabulous Seattle summer.
I certainly never thought I’d say this, but I currently work at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. I am a Child Life Specialist, and I spend every day helping very sick children cope with hospitalization, surgery and sometimes life-threatening illness or injury. I ended up going back to school post-internship to get another degree to pursue a career in Child Life. Like I said, I always thought I’d be a teaching artist, but my life pulled me in a different direction. And even though I no longer teach, my experience in Seattle influences things I do ALL the time. For example, just the other day I was preparing a very crabby 5-year-old for major surgery. He was too crabby to even talk to me, so I left the room and brainstormed how to proceed. I remembered his dad saying he loved Batman, so I printed out a picture of Batman and wrote a very “creative drama” note to my patient, telling him that Batman knew he was brave, but that it was okay to be scared, too. I signed the note and sealed it with a Batman sticker and assigned a nurse to deliver it and tell the patient she found it on the floor, having no idea where it came from. He lit up when he received the note, and immediately entered the magical world of creative drama. I went with him, and we prepared to go to surgery as Batman and Catwoman.
My advice to current and future interns is to be open to all possibilities. Take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that are before you and do things that capture your heart. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be wearing scrubs carrying a pager every day, but I’m doing my heart job. It may have been a long and winding road that got me to this point, but it started with my heart internship.
Kizzy Marco is a Certified Child Life Specialist at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, TX. Originally from Chicago, she earned her BA in 2010 and BS in 2012, both from The University of Iowa. Kizzy’s focus in her work is on process over product, just as she learned it at Seattle Children’s Theatre.