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Clara Henley

Clara Henley with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital

Hometown: Knoxville, TN

Anticipated Graduation Date: August, 2018

How did you react to the new when you found out you were chosen for a Child Life Practicum at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital?
When she first told me I responded with “wait, are you kidding me?” And then proceeded to thank her over and over and explain how excited I was about the practicum. I really thought I was being pranked until she told me the second time that I was being offered the position.

What are you looking forward to most about this practicum?
I am the most excited about getting hands on experience in the field I hope to pursue once I graduate. I’m also excited to learn new things directly from a certified child life specialist!

How does a CFS degree fit into your life’s plans?
I will be working directly with children and their families, so all of the things I have learned during my pursuit of the CFS degree are things I can apply directly to being a child life specialist one day.

What have I learned from other students?
The main thing that I have learned from other students, especially in the CFS department, is that you really do make some of your best friends in college. Just by talking in class with other students, I’ve learned that I’m incredibly similar to a lot of other people or have common interests with people I didn’t think I would and that led to some pretty incredible friendships!

Who is your favorite professor or staff member at UTK so far and why?
Picking one favorite professor or staff member is INCREDIBLY hard because most of the professors and staff in this department are amazing at what they do and have made my years here amazing. But if I had to pick, I would say Dr. Sally Hunter. She’s been an amazing advisor and mentor to me, always guiding me in the right direction with classes and life decisions and overall just being always available whenever I needed something!

What has been your greatest challenge as a student?
 My greatest challenge as a student has been trying to find a balance between school, work, and being social. It was incredibly difficult trying to figure out how many hours I should work at my job so that I could have good grades and still be able to hang out with my friends and family.

What have you learned that’s made a different to you?
I learned that it is okay to ask for help. My first couple of years at UT I did not like the idea of asking for help because I wanted to be able to do things on my own, but I quickly learned that asking for help is perfectly fine and makes college and life in general so much easier.

What are you most thankful for from your time as a CFS student, so far?
So far, I am definitely thankful for the professors and staff in the department. They have made college so much easier and better than I ever could have imagined. There are so many professors and staff members who have taken the time to get to know me and have offered to help in many different ways and I am beyond thankful for that

What advice do you have for incoming students?
My advice to incoming students would be to not pick a major until you have taken lots of different classes. I started out as a pre-med Biology major and realized that it was not the right track for me. Take your time choosing your major and make sure you pick something you will enjoy learning a lot about and having a future career in!