About Me

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Charlotte, North Carolina
I am starting out my social work career and my marriage. I write to relieve stress...mostly by sarcastically telling life stories.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Social Work

The last week has been absolutely crazy. Hence no updates. I have to present my capstone this week- a 30 minute presentation on childhood sexual abuse which my parents and finance have invited themselves to. This weekend I tried to spring clean and then the washing machine broke. I am so sore from all that work it is ridiculous. Today at internship I caught up on cases and I decided to write my last real essay. The paper is for my favorite professor and it is supposed to address the meaning of getting my MSW. I like what I wrote and I thought I would add it here for fun. It's kind of long compared to my normal posts but I hope you enjoy:
     Compared to other students the story of how I decided to go to graduate school may be a little different. During undergraduate as I was pursuing my Bachelor of Social Work I knew I wanted my Masters degree also. I am not sure what held me back from immediately going to graduate school but I decided to work for Child Protective Services instead. Looking back, sometimes I feel like this was the easy choice for me. It seemed like the stable way to go, mainly because of the pay check, even though I knew that I wanted to be a clinical social worker.
            In many ways my experience with CPS is not something I would trade. I learned plenty about real world social work. I learned what makes a good social worker and what makes a well- not so good social worker. I learned the importance of having a supportive and understanding supervisor. Most importantly, I learned that I love working with children. I felt like I helped these kids and it broke my heart to leave some of them. Although some people think social work is thankless, I knew just getting a foster child to trust me when they had no reason to trust anyone was the best feeling in the world.
            But, I knew I had to leave to do what was right for me and that was for me to get my Master in Social Work so that I can help these kids in a different kind of way, a therapeutic way. Getting my MSW is the best choice I ever made for myself. After working for two years I was ready to learn. I felt like I had paid my dues in the field and now it was my turn to discover, what I knew, would be my passion. I decided to do the one year- advanced standing- program because I knew I could manage it and I wanted to get back into the field the quickest way possible. I have a great group of girls in my cohort and although it has been a strenuous year, it has been a fantastic one.  
During the year I had to do many things I was uncomfortable with, but had to do for myself. I had to change internships because I knew I was not getting what I needed, clinically, in my first placement. I am always afraid to hurt someone’s feelings or burn bridges so I hated this but it was right for me. I started attending therapy on campus so that, when I was a therapist for my clients, I would be emotionally fit myself. I also had to accept that I am who I am. I may not be the typical 24 year old but I am hard-working and trustworthy and I learned to be ok with being the “older” person- in age and attitude- among the girls in my group.
I truly loved learning. Sometimes the papers, tests, and projects were grueling but overall I felt exhilarated. I was learning what I waited to learn for two years. I had some wonderful professors who I truly felt inspired by because of what they had done in the field. I learned about therapy techniques and what works best for child clients. I got a thrill when guest speakers came in and told us about their amazing jobs, jobs that I am now qualified to have. I got to learn about mental health diagnosis from the DSM-IV and cherished every minute of finally getting to learn what makes clients tick.
Overall, I feel like I have gained a wealth of knowledge that I was eager to uncover. I am even eager to take continuing education classes for my license in order to learn more from colleagues who have been in the field for years. I know I have a great deal more to learn in order to hone the craft of counseling but I feel a great sense of accomplishment in that I have not given up on this dream, even when my personal life was falling apart in the middle of it. I have given myself a gift, a gift that no one can take away from me. The gift to do what I have come to love. The gift to help others in their time of crisis and peril. The gift to have a career where I may get paid, but more importantly I will feel fulfillment in doing my passion every day.

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