This past Friday, one of our professors asked my class if we were going on vacation for Spring Break. This class being full of 2nd year Triangle Distance students, we laughed at him. “Yeah,” we said, “we’re taking a class trip to Cancun!.” We had a good laugh, but it speaks to the life of the 60 or so students at UNC’s School of Social Work that are trying to do it all. In my 2nd year cohort, we are all taking 10 credit hours (minimum), working 16 hours a week in field, and working one or more paid jobs. Most of us have families and children at home. Two of us have been crazy enough to plan a wedding while in school.
When I am attending Q&A sessions for applicants to the school, they always ask Triangle Distance students how they manage to get it all in. I can’t say there’s a magic answer that will apply to everyone’s situation, but everyone in my cohort makes it work. I definitely had to give up some things I love to fit field and school into my life. That said, I believe that Triangle Distance students are inspirational in the way they work toward their educational goals while maintaining a job and other commitments. Also, as most of us have been working in the field for a few years (or many years) before coming to UNC, the classroom experience is invaluable because we learn so much from each other. My classmates always have a real-life example to supplement whatever we are reading about. Finally, being a working student has made me a more organized person. I have learned to prioritize and accomplish the things that are important to me. Do I miss going to local theaters and coaching? Yeah, I do. But those things will be around when I graduate in May 2012 and I’ll be better than ever because of my experience as a Triangle Distance student at the School of Social Work.