Sarah Henninger, MSW 2019

Sarah Henninger
Why did you choose social work? MSU?
I am a third generation Spartan (GO GREEN!), so when considering schools to attend for both undergraduate and graduate school, MSU felt like the only option. I have always felt that MSU was where I belonged and would receive the best education possible. My experience at MSU has been inspirational, and I can’t imagine having attended any other university. Mental health has always been my passion, so getting my education in social work was the way for me to spend my life doing what I love.

Have you had a job or internship that has had a strong impact you?
I currently work as a Mental Health Technician at HealthSource Saginaw on the inpatient adult psychiatric unit. This job has taught me more than I could have ever learned in the classroom. The patients at the hospital make me a better person every day. They continue to inspire me with their strength and courage, and every day I am there I come home a more compassionate, empathetic human being. If I had not had the opportunity to have this job, I would not be the person I am today.

If you’ve already worked in the field, are there any particular events or situations that have had a strong impact on you?
I had a patient once at work who told me when he discharged that day, he was going to go home and end his life. I had to go to my Charge Nurse and the doctors to get this patient’s discharge cancelled. A few months later, I received a SuperStar (staff shout out/compliment card) from this patient. He wrote: “She took the time to listen to me and figure out that I wasn’t ready to leave yet and got my release/transfer stopped and probably saved my life.” It was in this moment that I realized just how important my job is, and just how much of an impact I can make on someone’s life. It was this moment that solidified for me that I am doing the right thing. I look at that card every day.

Do you have any advice for others considering social work?
Not every day is going to be easy. Some days are going to be really, really hard. There will be days where you feel you did not do anything to help anyone, that you didn’t make a difference at all. There will be days when you feel defeated, mentally and emotionally drained. And there will also be days when you know you’ve made changes in other people’s lives, when you fill with pride seeing someone you’ve worked with improve, when you feel overjoyed when someone tells you thank you for everything you’ve done. This field is a challenging one, but it is also incredibly rewarding. You make an impact every day, never forget that.