A Strange but Delightful Dichotomy

My second semester in year two is well underway and my time at UNC is more than half over. Hard to believe that in just three days my field options and course schedules need to be finalized for next year. Time is flying so fast!

My classes this semester in evidence-based practice are quite interesting and the instructors not only have a wealth of knowledge and experience, they actually know how to teach. (Yet another reason to love the UNC-MSW program!) This semester in my field placement I have moved into more independent opportunities to therapeutically interact with clients and I am finding it hugely rewarding.

I also find the concurrent field/classroom arrangement offered by the UNC-MSW program to be both challenging and more than a little humorous at times. It’s a strange but delightful dichotomy to have people Monday through Thursday coveting your professional insights only to find yourself on Friday with a cohort of crazy classmates that keep it real and keep you humble!

One day I am putting together a corporate conference. The next day I am editing and electronically distributing the follow up client satisfaction survey using social media. And the next day I’m back in class where we conduct mock research by eating lemon pound cake and taking a survey rating its deliciousness. Yum! (No question – completing that survey was much more fun than my e-survey!)

In the field, one client habitually refers to me as Dr. Keil, no matter how many times I clarify my role. Another client is so excited by her progress with CBT she has begun to refer members of her support group to our agency. The clients hold me in such high regard I can’t help but pinch myself. The voice of doubt in my head says, “Yeah, well, if they only knew you!”  But once again, along comes Friday’s class where I join my classmates in seminar and we passionately engage in discussions of how best to respect and serve our clients. It’s one of my highest aspirations as a social work professional to successfully take the safe and inspiring atmosphere we have created in seminar out into the workplace so I can help encourage and facilitate the collaboration and cooperation of my co-workers.

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For all those applying to the program for next year, I know the February 14th deadline is looming large in your lives right about now. I encourage you to press on, dig deep, and work hard to get your stuff in on time. Believe me; it’s worth all the effort you’re putting forth, and more. I hope you all get in, and when you do, I’m sure you won’t regret it!

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About Marguerite Keil

Ancora Imparo! To sweet endings, new beginnings and live long learning! I have now finished my third and final year of the UNC-MSW program and it has exceeded my expectations! I completed the first two years through the Winston Salem Distance Education program that was phenomenal and have now just finished an equally great year here on campus. Certainly I leave the program with more knowledge, but more importantly, I leave with more personal insight and a clearer sense of myself. But this is not the end - only a new beginning. In a few weeks I embark on a new career - not the one I envisioned with the full-time employer I had when I first enrolled. Instead, these years of academic training and field work have blazed a new path and opened new doors of opportunity. They have brought new people and a new scope of practice into my life. I owe a good part of this to the certificate program (Substance Abuse Certificate in my case), which is why I want to encourage others to pursue some certification or licensure along with their MSW. Yes, it does mean more work, but in the end I am quite sure you will be glad you did. And the experiences you share with those pursuing the same path will make your time at Carolina that much sweeter and memorable. Blessings! ~mk
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