Advanced Standing…it is worth it!

Many times when people come to an information session or learn about the different programs the UNC SSW offers the advanced standing program seems crazy, impossible, and not worth it. But, I’m here to tell you it it is!  The run down on the program with my thoughts thrown in.

Summer: May-July. The first 6 weeks you are in class  5 days a week for 3 hours, so you are in class quite a bit and it does take dedication. The class is divided into 3 sections and the sections are two weeks each. There are times where you may feel like it is never going to end and you aren’t cut out for the program, I’ll be honest I felt that way a lot. But, with the support of the professors (go and talk to them frequently they are available!) and other people in the advanced standing program (my cohort is known as the UNC Crew and we got to know each other real quick) you’ll find yourself wondering where the 6 weeks went and that it didn’t kill you it made you stronger. If you are feeling overwhelmed make sure to practice self-care it really is important. Go to a movie, plan a night out, or stay in and watch movies, I promise one day of self-care will do wonders for your mind and body in that 6 week time period. The rest of the summer you are in class one day a week and your field placement, it is tiring because many times you may be working 9-5 and then you will have to work on homework for the class. But, it is a rewarding experience because your field placement will remind you why you are striving to get your MSW degree and that the work will pay off. If I had to describe the key to surviving summer in two words it would be: BALANCE, DEDICATION. Plus, you are already 1/3 of the way through the program once the summer is over, that’s a great bonus.

Fall & Spring: August- May. If you learn balance and dedication in the summer you can survive the other two semesters of the program. For the fall and spring you are in class two days a week and field 3 days a week. You may be in class all day monday or all day tuesday. But, you are in control of your schedule, you decide your concentration (direct practice, community & management) and based on your focus within your  concentration (healthcare, mental health) you have the power to decide what classes you want to take to achieve your educational goal and the faculty and staff are great “go to” people to guide you if you are having trouble making your decisions. For example every class I am taking this semester is one that I was wanting and excited to take and that’s a feeling that many people find hard to believe because the program is so rigorous and society perpetuates the idea that school isn’t meant to be fun and you shouldn’t be excited to attend school every day. But it’s true! You can be excited and enjoy the program and classes you are in even if you are in the advanced standing program that seems toorigorous or overwhelming.

If you have specific questions about the advanced standing program please email me or make an appointment to do a campus visit, or go to an information session. All of these are aspects of UNC that can truly help guide you as you decide whether UNC is right for you and if you believe you want to be a tarheel  these aspects can help you decide which program (Advanced standing, full time etc.) is right for you.

Just remember: Through balance and dedication the Advanced Standing program is possible and it is worth it!

BELOW: A few of the girls from the UNC Crew and myself having a good time in class. We brought in a cake to celebrate someone’s birthday and got to enjoy it during class!

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About Brittany Anderson

Hi my name is Brittany Anderson and I am a full time advanced standing student at UNC Chapel Hill. The program started in May and I'm now in my second semester, I will graduate in May 2011! I am here to give you a student's perspective on the various aspects of the UNC Chapel Hill Advanced Standing MSW program and to help you as you decide if UNC's MSW program is the right choice for you whether you want to be advanced standing or decide to go another track like full time. My interests are medical social work with pediatric bone marrow transplant and pediatric hematology/oncology as well as social work with children who have physical disabilities. I am originally from Michigan but I went to undergrad in Illinois and now I live in North Carolina and the weather is so much nicer. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the advanced standing program or UNC School of Social Work in general. My email is banders4@email.unc.edu. Best Wishes!
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