I’ve been meeting with prospective students for the distance education program over the last several months and there seems to be a just three recurring themes to my simple message. I thought it appropriate to share them here.
- You know you’re pursuing the right profession if you can appreciate the sage advice of my long since deceased mother: ALWAYS leave things BETTER than you found them. Who better than social workers to venture bravely into life’s troubled waters for the sake of individuals, families, communities and even countries, to take on poverty and politics, to challenge themselves as they challenge others, and in the end, make their part of the world better than they found it?
- BEGIN with the END in mind. See your UNC social work degree framed and hanging on the wall. Have a clear vision of yourself in places of influence. Have a dream for your own destiny. Lock into that future reality and then work backwards to logically set the goals, accomplish the objectives, and complete the tasks it will require to get there. After all, before you know it, you will be helping others see their own lives in a better and brighter light. Learning how to get yourself where you want to be, acknowledging the hard work it will take for you to get there, and pressing in to achieve your own victories—while remembering to celebrate your successes and failures along the way—is what you will be dedicating your life to help others do. By starting with your own life you will have a much better appreciation for theirs.
- Invest in a crock pot: Crock pots are one of life’s basic essentials. With a little preplanning, crock pots allow us to have good, home cooked meals that provide nourishment, save time, and support our crazed, deadline driven student lifestyle. I believe we also need Crock pot friends—people who will tend to our needs even when we are too busy to attend to theirs, friends who will nourish us with their love and encouragement on good days and bad, friends who are willing to carry the burden of the myriad of things we have to temporarily ignore so we can make this journey in life called school. My recommendation to all prospective (and current) students: invest in a good crock pot. But don’t stop there. Go on to identify your Crock pot friends who are walking this path with you, and love them well!
Have a Bountiful Thanksgiving! May it be blessed by your keen awareness, first, of the blessings that have been sown into the soil of your life, and then, of the talents you possess that can only be harvested when they are sown into the lives of others.