Well, I’m nearly done with my first semester of graduate school in social work.
I haven’t had any time until now, as I take a break from homework, to update this.
Regarding graduate school, It’s been challenging, but it’s been eye-opening. Especially at my internship. I intern through an organization called Communities In Schools that gets the community involved in the local public schools to help out children with basic needs, academics, etc. I intern through them at a local elementary school. I’ve learned so much with participating in client intakes, conducting assessments, etc. I can not and will not go into detail about the nature of any of those due to ethics and confidentiality reasons.
I’ve learned so much and I love the experience I’m getting. Of course, I have my days where the stress seems to become too much to handle and I contemplate why I didn’t just look for a job after graduation to work for a year or two, then go back to school after saving up some money and gaining some workplace experience. I probably would have gone the route of Technical/Professional Communication/Journalism degree, since there aren’t many jobs someone with a BSW can get besides DHS (foster care/adoption), CPS (child protective services), assistance payments worker, etc. I am not interested in any of those jobs, to be frank.
Sometimes, I’m not entirely sure that I’m exactly where I want to be. I blame the stress, anxiety, and SAD (seasonal affective disorder) as a major factor for those feelings. I do have days where I wish I was working, making money, going home at the end of the day with no homework to do, no research proposals to write, no research papers, no essays, etc. Then again, I am not ready to start paying back the thousands of dollars in student loans I have. Plus, I know I’m not entirely ready for the “real” world.
I made the choice to jump into getting my Masters right away after finishing my undergrad, since I still possess the required knowledge from my undergrad social work courses and I’m still in “student” mode. Had I chosen to wait a year or two, it probably would have been very difficult for me to want to go back.
I do enjoy working for a student newspaper again, too. It’s also stressful at times, but it’s highly rewarding and I’m glad I can put my skills to use for something I have a passion for once again, in addition to continuing my education. I love my staff and my job.
To be honest, I do have days where I wish things were a little different. For example, sometimes I wish I had a full-time job and was just attending school part-time. But, I know that I’ll be done sooner in the full-time program and I’ll have a full-time job that (hopefully) pays well.
I suppose it’s “normal” to have these conflicting feelings every now and then.
Sometimes I wish I had it all figured out. By that, I mean I wish I had my entire life figured out. I sure as hell don’t. I don’t know where I want to live after I graduate from WMU, I don’t know if I’ll want to use my MSW right away and get a job within the social work field, preferably in a school or an agency working with children and teens, or if I’ll decide that I want a break from the human services field and go the route of technical writing. Of course, I plan to get licensed ASAP while the material is fresh in my mind. But, I don’t know. My future is a blank canvas that I have yet to take a paintbrush to. I miss being artistic. It’s a hobby of mine that got put on the back-burner because of my rigorous schedule.
I try to take life one day at a time. It’s difficult, but it’s much more peaceful. I find this quote to be true for me:
“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” — Lao Tsu
I know that when I’m thinking of the past, wishing I had done something differently, such as made an effort to meet a lot more people at Ferris, put myself out there more, or had broken up with my ex-fiance’ much earlier, so I could feel happier about myself pursued a relationship with a longtime close friend now boyfriend sooner, I feel upset with myself and I do get depressed. I find that I am very anxious when I think about the future: Where I’m going to live, how I am going to afford my bills for the rest of the month, if I will get a job right after graduation, etc., I become highly anxious.
If I focus on the here and now, I am at peace. It is hard for me to be at peace, with all of the demands, homework, work, etc. piling up in front of me, but I am working on it. I am working on incorporating mindfulness and meditation into my life to quiet my thoughts down. As someone who lived a traumatic life for most of her childhood, and lives with depression/anxiety, it’s a great coping mechanism. I also need to and want to make time for Yoga. I love Yoga, it’s calming, relaxing, and it’s a great form of exercise.
I know I have a lot to figure out, a lot to plan, a lot to think about.
I know that all of this stress, this anxiety, and this frustration that I’ll endure the remainder of this semester, and the next three I have will be worth it in the end when I have my MSW. I just have to trudge through the muddy parts of the path before I get to clear ones that are pleasant to walk through. It’s all a learning and growing experience. It’s another way for me to improve myself and my future.