Hello, my name is Amy Schaafsma and I am graduating in May 2016 with an undergraduate social work degree from Michigan State University! It took a few changes in my major to find out that social work was the perfect fit for me. I went from psychology to nursing, and then to social work. Every step of the way I looked for a major that I could help make differences in someone’s life every day. After one meeting with my awesome advisor Monaca Eaton, my foundation for my social work career was in place. It only took a couple of sessions in SW 200 with Glen Stutzky to realize that I had found my calling… However, it did not take long for me to learn that choosing social work is only the first step; the next step is to find what kind of social worker you want to be.
I started to explore myself to find what I am passionate about, and what type of social change I want to commit to during my career. This decision has still not become clear to me, as I have enough passion that it would take a handful of different social work careers to complete it all. To help with this thought process I have pushed myself to take up any opportunity that the School of Social Work presents me. This has included doing Undergraduate Research with two wonderful mentors, Jennifer Farley and Sheryl Groden. I have also taken up two of the 3 certificate programs that the School of Social Work has to offer: the Diversity Certificate and the Child Welfare certificate. These opportunities have allowed me to expand and enrich my social work education so that I can find the right place for me in the future. Some areas of social work that I am interested in are community organization, children and families, and mental health. The clearest future goal I can see right now is committing myself to a low-income city and building it up. To do this I would start a few program: one that trains unskilled workers to become more viable in the job market, one that introduces high school freshmen to the idea of attending college, and one that provides food to low-income families. My next step after graduation is to attend graduate school for social work.
The School of Social Work has so many different ways to help students uncover their path. If you have a passion for making changes, consider studying social work here at Michigan State University. This program has evolved me into a person that can make goals and reach them. The picture featured was taken at the MSU Undergraduate Research Fair where I presented my work with Jennifer Farley on a program evaluation for at-risk families with young children. I would like to thank these very special faculty members and mentors in the social work program that have guided me along this path: Joanne Reibschleger, Jennifer Farley, Sheryl Groden, Susan Bowden, and Monaca Eaton.
“Feel yourself be quietly drawn by the deeper pull of what you truly love.” ~Rumi