The transition to graduate school can be both exciting and challenging. For some, the increase in self-directed learning and workload/expectations are sources of anxiety; while for others, the opportunities for deeper analysis and incorporating classroom knowledge into the professional environment are areas of excitement and empowerment. As a first-year MSW student, I am comfortable saying that I am experiencing both reactions. Three weeks into the program, I have already experienced some difficulties (the logistics of field placement, the amount of reading, need for better time management, etc.). BUT, I have also encountered many positives (support of peers, how approachable professors are, the amount of experience and knowledge within the school, etc.).
That being said… Here are my 3 favorite things about being a graduate student at UNC (in no certain order of importance):
1) The sense of community – I think I know EVERYONE in ALL of my classes, and almost EVERY faculty and staff member has made it a point to introduce themselves and learn about myself and my peers.
2) The campus –
3)The experience of professors – Every one of my professors have both engaged in the direct practice and macro aspects of social work, and have also either created organizations or been leaders in working with community organizations. There are some that have practiced in countries such as South Africa, Haiti, and Ghana, and others that have made significant changes here in our own communities of Chapel Hill and Durham.
I’m proud and honored to be a part of the School of Social Work at UNC, and to be experiencing this next chapter of my educational and professional career with faculty and fellow students that have already invested in me and each other!