Jessica Oyoque, MSW - 2016(expected)
Why did you choose Social Work? MSU?
Social Work was very new to me. I knew pursuing a degree in Sociology that I wanted to help people, I just didn't’ know how I was going to do that with my degree. It was after a great internship experience my last year of college that I found my answer. I realized if I wanted to continue my career path of working with people, pursuing a social work degree would enable that goal and allow for a variety of career opportunities. Upon doing research for MSW programs, MSU, to me, was one of the best in terms of structure and inclusiveness in their programming. I was interested in the internship requirements that were built in the program and the classes that were offered. It felt ideal for me.
Do you have any advice for others considering SW?
The advice I can give anyone interested in pursuing a degree in SW, would be if you're interested in a challenge and making a difference, then SW might be for you. SW is more that just helping people, but working with them and providing a sense of understanding. We do not need to maintain or enforce this “savior” idea, but we can use what we learned and help in various ways to support and assist. The SW program at MSU allows for you to try on all sorts of different social work hats and see what fits best.
Do you have any advice for students currently enrolled in a SW program?
The advice I can provide about currently enrolled students in the SW program is to actively engage in class discussion. Everyone in class are young professionals, they are equally interested in what the field has to offer and might similiar have the same interests. By sharing, contributing, and participating you are able to learn more concrete and reallife issues that target your ability to use critical thinking. Connecting in class and asking question on things you don’t understand or need some clarification, enables us to be better prepared in the field. I know I definitely asked a lot of clarification questions, because I know, we as clinicians, will be assuming huge responsibility with our career fields postgraduation. Always remember there are NO DUMB OR STUPID questions. Always ask what you don’t understand, because you are the only one that misses out.
Have you had an internship that has had a strong impact on you? When did you decided to pursue a degree in SW? Impacted my life?
I’ve had several and various supporters throughout my undergrad, along with my family that saw the potential and encouraged me to continue with my educational career. One of the strongest impacts that has influenced my continuation into the field of Social Work was my internship during my undergrad. The internship was at a child advocacy agency that catered to assisting and helping children of traumatized life circumstances. I became passionate about providing these services and I understood the need, as well as, the impact it had on the children and their families. Along with this experience and the tremendous about of support from the staff, I begin to look further into the social work field. If it weren’t for the continuous amount of praise, support, and encouragement from the staff at Roxanne’s House, I do not think I would have had the courage to apply for graduate school. Along with Migrant Student Services at MSU, the supportive staff and my experience with the CAMP program, it has reinforced my passion and my decisions of pursing my career path in the field of Social Work.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your academic career at MSU?
The most challenging part of my academic career was definitely my transition from Texas to the MSU campus. My first semester I faced various struggles with adjusting to the MSU system and finding resources. I also struggled with “lack of” diversity within the program, however, I do not want to discount the amazing individuals I have met within my program. I feel that I struggled to identify with some of my peers and not only on a cultural level, but in terms of being one of the few from “out of state”. Many of my peers were either from Michigan or completed their undergrad at MSU, so I felt starting my first semester many of my peers already had connections, so it was definitely a hard transition. However, I felt as I continued with the program I continued to connect more with my peers and professors that it felt like home.