Why did you choose social work? MSU?
I had originally graduated with a BS in Psychology at MSU, and was planning on applying to graduate programs within the field of psychology. During that time, I had taken a job at a youth residential facility that I had anticipated being a short-term position between undergraduate and graduate studies. Unfortunately, I didn’t get into the programs I was hoping to. My job, however, had really opened my worldview up to see the immediacy of putting practice to theory. Through working for the agency even longer, social work became more and more obvious to me as more than a career path, but a philosophy that put action and practice to theories of oppression outside of the individual and clinical setting.
Have any of your Field activities had a strong impact on you?
I have been working in the field a little over six years, and the amount of situations that have impacted me are honestly too many to count. There were, however, three themes that had a great impact on me while working here: the span of effects that trauma has on individuals, the understanding that trauma is the result of systemic and environmental oppressions as much as it is from single events, and finally how important communities of care, for the staff as well as the children we serve, truly is.
Do you have any advice for students currently enrolled in a social work program?
Take a deep breath. The pressure to do well in class and your internship can make it quite easy to forget about yourself. Add to that that the scope of the work that still needs to be done to make some sort of positive impact on the lives of those who we are going to be serving, and it can seem like a lot. Make sure to take care of yourself in the process, continue to take part in hobbies that you love, and utilize your cohort and professors for questions and support. And don’t forget: you’re doing super well!