8 Emotional Stages Of An Internship Termination


College is stressful enough. But doing a school placement or internship can add an extra layer of stress. For some, it may be financial and time stressors, and for others, it may be nervousness. And what happens if you get terminated? 

Since termination rarely happens, you may feel that you’re the only one treading muddy waters. But you aren’t. For those of you who have experienced an early end to your placement or internship, you may have all experienced some or all of these eight stages. Here they are:

Stage 1: Grieving.

You’re grieving because the consequences are dire. The termination may have taken you by surprise and you feel that your plans are pushed back. In this stage, you will cry, vent, and seek support from others as much as possible. Because you need an outlet for your emotions. 

Stage 2: Reacting.

This stage happens after buckets of tears. You react by sending a quick email to your professor and telling them what happened. You find that being transparent about the process will help you the most at this point. 

Stage 3: Panic.

Email – sent. Meeting – scheduled. But what should I do now? Find a new placement? You ask. You’re now in full panic mode, wanting to take control of the whole situation, so you look for a new placement opportunity. But…

Stage 4: Wait.

You meet with your professor, and then they tell you to wait before accepting a new position. The faculty has to figure out the situation first. Boohoo!

Stage 5: Surprise.

This stage usually happens once the faculty figures out a decision. Regardless of how fair the decision is, you’ll still be surprised with the outcome. Let’s say the decision ends up being something you heavily disagree with: You’ll perhaps have to go through most of the stages again. And if you agree with the decision, you’ll be surprised that the faculty was able to digress the situation quickly. 

Stage 6: Acceptance. 

Once the decision occurs, you learn how to accept it. It’s difficult to change the faculty’s mind, after all. 

Stage 7: Reflection. 

After accepting the decision, you finally begin to reflect on your performance. Have I learned anything? You ask yourself. What can I do to prevent this from happening in the future? You start to develop an exit plan and communicate with your professor more. You’re learning your own lessons, even if it isn’t your fault. 

Step 8: Confidence. 

You then know that you’ll rock your next internship and pass with flying colors. You know which mistakes you made and you’ll try to not make them again. 

While going through these eight stages, it is also important to remember the following: 


Although difficult, always put yourself first throughout the process. Remember to take breaks, watch movies you enjoy, read books, and go on walks. Never stop doing what makes you happy because of an unfit placement. School and work will always be part of life, so prioritize your mental and physical health. 


Don’t be afraid to ask your professor questions throughout the process. Before sending them an email, write down the questions and wait for a couple of hours. It’s important to not bombard your professor with constant emails because this process is difficult on them, too. But it’s good to remain updated on what’s going on. 

Support from the school: 

Other than your program coordinator or field placement coordinator, you can seek support from other departments within your school. These include Career Services, Academic Advising, Counselling services, or the Financial Aid Office. They can provide you with more information in regards to preparing you for the next steps. 

The Final Verdict:

Having your internship or placement terminated sucks, but it isn’t something you can control. Navigating throughout the process of meeting with professors is daunting. But at the end, you’ll end up more resilient and ready for your next placement. These eight stages do take time, but you’ll get through it with grace. I promise – it will get better after Stage Five.

Feature Image by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels



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