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My Dream: Becoming a Social Worker

Dream

Sometimes, blogging can be a pain in the butt especially when you want to blog about something OTHER THAN reviews and giveaways but aren’t exactly sure what to blog about. I mean, I guess I have TONS of stuff I could blog about outside of reviews but will you really find it interesting? Probably not. So, I’m going to give this Daily Prompt thing a try for when I want to blog but I’m not exactly sure what to blog about. It’s a bit of a story but there are pictures!! Okay here we go!

Daily Prompt for August 5th, 2013:  When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up? What are you now? Are the two connected?  Photographers, artists, poets: show us DREAMS.

I love this question because it allows me to really reflect on where I have been and where I have come from over the last few years. This is my condensed story of how I became a social worker.

When I was growing up, more importantly when I was in junior high and high school, I was DEAD SET on going to college for Journalism. There was nothing you could tell me to change my mind, I wanted to be a journalist whether it was for a newspaper or magazine, it didn’t matter because it is what I was going to do and no one was going to stop me. Writing was something that I enjoyed and something that I excelled at all through school from grade school until I graduated high school. I was one of those people that didn’t LOVE writing essays but writing them came easy to me and so everyone always wanted to be my partner in English class if we had a major project to complete because they knew I did well in those courses.

NewspaperI was part of the newspaper team in junior high and LOVED IT. But when high school rolled around I was dealing with my parents divorce and moving (very long story), I let that dream fall by the wayside and didn’t participate in newspaper & yearbook like I had planned to. Despite, not participating in those activities, I still wanted to major in journalism and be a journalist. Finally, it was time to start college and my plans changed. I started my college career by attending the local technical college where I lived because I wasn’t prepared to go off on my own to a huge university. I took a couple of general education classes along with some electives to try and figure out what I really wanted to do. Being a journalist was no longer an interest to me, but I can’t really pinpoint why or how that dream changed but it did.

After taking my first college psychology class, I knew I wanted to be in some sort of helping profession. A lot of wanting to be in this type of field had to do with my own experiences with therapy and counselors when I was in junior high and high school. I remember feeling so much better after a therapy session, especially when I really connected with the person I was working with, and I wanted to be able to make others feel the same. I initially made the decision to become a counseling psychologist, so I would get my Bachelors in Psychology (which I did) and then move on to getting my Masters in Counseling Psychology so I could eventually open up my own practice, blah blah. Well, even within that dream things changed! First, no one told me how HARD psychology classes were and even though, it was something I was interested in there was just some areas that I could not comprehend no matter how hard I tried or studied. Brain and Behavior was the worse and I ended up taking Psychological Stats (yes a math class for psychology!) THREE times. When I finally graduated with my Bachelors, I was so over school and was happy to be done. I came to realize that I wouldn’t get accepted to a psychology masters program because I didn’t have the grades that I had hoped for.

GraduationAfter graduating with my Bachelors in 2010, I decided to take some time to myself and just work so I could figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I HAD to go back to school for a Masters in something because a Bachelors in Psychology wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I ended up working full time over the summer at a community mental health center with children who had been diagnosed with severe emotional disturbances. I hated it. I absolutely HATED it. The main reason I hated it was because I don’t handle confrontational situations very well especially when people get aggressive and for that type of behavior to come from a child and be the one responsible for restraining them to calm them down just didn’t sit well with me. I wanted to be more of a helping person where I’d sit and talk or listen to an individual or help them find resources. I applied for a position at an adoption/foster care agency and started working there a month after my summer job ended. I was at this agency for 2.5 years (laid off June 2013) and loved every minute of it.

Working at the adoption/foster care agency is when and where I truly realized my potential and the path I was destined to go down. I wanted to help people whether it was in a therapeutic way or in a general way of finding and gathering resources. Sure, I didn’t love being painted as the person who took kids away from their families but I loved being the person that they thanked and “loved” so much when their children were returned home to them or how much they appreciated it when I was able to find them resources for food, housing, clothing or utilities. I decided a year into working at the agency that I’d get my Masters in Social Work; it only made sense because not only could I do the work I was doing now with my MSW but I could do therapy if I wanted too. I could do MANY things with a MSW degree that I didn’t feel I could do with any other type of degree.

And so in August of 2011, I started my journey of getting my Masters in Social Work all while working full time at the adoption/foster care agency. I have established so many amazing relationships from the work I did with the agency and have formed many new relationships since being in the MSW program. I am a year out from graduating (May 2014) with my MSW and I couldn’t be more excited. My ultimate goal is to get my clinical license so I can provide therapeutic services without supervision and be a social worker within the military community. I start my practicum (internship) at the VA at the end of August and I couldn’t be more excited. Being a social worker is hard work, it is emotionally and mentally draining and there are days when I think to myself…why the hell did I choose this profession, I won’t make jack crap and I’m going to work god awful hours, but at the end of the day I love my clients and I love seeing them succeed and that is more important to me than any dollar bill.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you that now?

Featured image courtesy of Pinterest

COMMENTS
  • Alicia August 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Sounds like we had some similar goals. I wanted to be a journalist and worked on my high school newspaper. I went to school for psychology. Then I went to school for social work as a dual major. However, I married a psychologist who practically ruined my life and decided I didn’t want to work in that field anymore, so started over at college again for computer science. Now, I am a blogger. Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans!

  • mommasbacon August 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Good for you! I come from a family of social workers. It isn’t the easiest line of work but rewarding. My career field is pretty open in the Finance field and I hope to teach ESL overseas when I retire.

  • Michele August 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I also wanted to be a journalist! But the reality was I was not ready for college although I did go-far from home–I ended up dropping out and came home–I worked as a temp and kind of fell into bookkeeping–note here-I NEVER liked it but was good at it as everyone kept telling me—-I did manage to go back again and get a degree I really wanted (4 yr environmental science degree) at age 40–unfortunately I could not get a job in that field that would pay my bills–so back to bookkeeping I went. I am happy to hear that you are able to be in a career that you really want to be in-it will make a world of difference in your life!!

  • Tess August 5, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    What a rewarding career that would be. : )

  • Janeane Davis August 5, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    My mother-in-law was a social worker and she really enjoyed the work. It was hard, demanding and challenging without a lot of pay, but it was a job that brought her a great deal of joy.

  • Terry (My Journey With Candida) August 5, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    When I was young, most women weren’t pushed to have a career. We were taught how to be a wife, mother,… housekeeper. Thing have changed for the better for women today.

  • Pam August 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    I wanted to be a journalist when I was growing up but went into education instead. Good luck with your goal, being a social worker is a wonderful career.

  • Jessica Beal Harlow August 5, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I have the utmost respect for social workers. Personally, I can’t imagine working in that field…it would emotionally exhaust me. It’s such an important yet sometimes unrewarding career you really have to love it to enjoy it! Best of luck to you!

  • Shannah @ Just Us Four August 5, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    What a great prompt! I wanted to be a lawyer when I was 10. Not sure what changed along the way but I never went down that path.

  • Dawn ~ Spatulas On Parade August 5, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    The journalism continued…you write a blog. Helping people, also in the blog. You do reviews which help others get a prospective on a particular item or brand. Social work is hard but can be rewarding. I have several friends who are social workers. Good for you, follow your dream.

    • Ashley August 5, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      You know, I didn’t even think about that…journalism = blogging :)

  • Beth August 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    What a great story. I always wanted to be a writer when I grew up, so I pursued that. I agree though that blogging is a form of journalism.:)

  • Jenn August 5, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Great story! I love how you had a dream and went after it!

  • Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell August 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    It was really interesting to see how things lined up and helped you hone in on what you were meant to do. Fascinating read!

  • Cynthia L. August 5, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Funny, I wanted to be a social worker when I was young. I didn’t follow that dream and always wonder about it. I am happy with the path my life has taken, but I always wonder.

  • Pam August 6, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Your road takes twist and turns but eventually you find the right path and it is pretty straightforward for many people. I have read before that people usually have 3 major career path changes in their lifetime and I have had all three. All positive. Don’t forget down the road that change can be a good thing.

  • christy karch August 6, 2013 at 1:27 am

    great job choice social workers have a tough job and its very rewarding for all involved

  • Tough Cookie Mommy August 6, 2013 at 4:27 am

    As an educator, I know what a wonderful and giving field Social Work can be. It takes a truly special and dedicated person to work in both of our fields.

  • Corinne August 6, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Social work is such an emotionally demanding career. I am so glad that there are individuals who have the desire and fortitude to do it since there are so many people who need the help. Good luck on your future in social work!

  • Kristin August 6, 2013 at 7:43 am

    I wanted to be an actress. In junior high and high school, I was in the theater program and felt like I was really good at it…to the point where i got a scholarship out of it. I choose getting married, being a mommy and blogging instead. :)

  • Christine Luken August 6, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Good for you! My mom just retired from a long career in social work, mainly working in the school system. I know you’ll have a positive impact on many people’s lives, just as my mom has. Good luck!

  • Heather August 6, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Hmm, when I grew up I wanted to work in child care.
    18 years in and I am looking again.
    Perhaps i might become a dietician or a yoga instructor.
    We shall see!

  • Cyndie August 6, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Glad you found your calling with your education

  • Caroline Murphy August 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Very inspirational! You’re on a great path!

  • Almost Supermom August 7, 2013 at 6:52 am

    I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was 10. Awesome post!

  • Scott August 7, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I’m not currently what I originally wanted to be, but I’m pretty happy. Good luck on your journey and thanks for the great read. :)

  • Ellen August 7, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I wanted to be a Veterinarian when I was young. I am now an IT Project Manager. Big difference LOL

  • Monica August 7, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Good for you!!! I too thought about social work for a long time, but ended up getting a masters in public health. Best of luck to you!!

  • Jess C August 8, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Good for you for following your dreams!! Money doesn’t equal happiness;)

  • Healy Harpster August 8, 2013 at 6:56 am

    Hmmn, I wanted to be a pediatrician but I ended finishing a different degree!!! Anyway, your post was very inspirational. Never give up is the motto! :)

  • Amy Desrosiers August 8, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I actually was going to school to be a social worker, and actually have a degree in it. I was never able to delve into the profession because I decided to have three kids back to back-hopefully some day I will.

  • Debra August 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    What a brave and nobel career choice….it takes a certain kind of person with super empathy skills to do what you want to do. Good luck!

  • Charise August 8, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Good for you! I wanted to be a writer and a dancer when I was growing up. The dancer part is not happening, but the writing is through blogging. :-)

  • Sophie S August 9, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Way to stick to your dreams! When I was younger I knew I had a calling to help people and thought I wanted to become a doctor. Went through pre-med and then grad school focused on med research while volunteering as a med assistant. I realized then that being a doctor was just not my calling, as I was too emotional and had a hard time keeping the patient’s care and my concern about the patient separate, so I decided not to go through with medical school. Still, I learned that there were other ways I could go on to help people and became involved in charitable work with a medical focus. Best decision ever!

  • Laurie - Steals and Deals for Kids August 9, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    So glad that you are doing what you love! I am a teacher and I don’t make very little money also…but guess what? I love what I do and that makes going to work a whole lot easier!! Knowing I make a difference in someone’s life keeps me going!

  • Sarah Bailey August 10, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Good luck in making your dream a reality :) x

  • Motherhood on the Rocks August 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Wow! That’s a tough job! But kudos to you for wanting to help others!

  • Emerald August 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    I enjoyed reading this. I too changed my course in life and want to be a photojournalist.