Am I ready to graduate?

As I prepare to enter my last semester of the Full-time program, I feel an overwhelming sense of anxiousness, excitement, and gratefulness. I am six months away from holding my MSW degree and calling myself a social work professional – but what happens next? This thought runs through my mind at least once a day, as I try to imagine the population I will be working with, and in which setting I’ll begin my career. With so many people searching for jobs, I often find myself wondering how competitive my degree will be, and if I will be adequately prepared to apply to clinical social work positions. My anxiety and fears are somewhat mitigated by the realization that I am getting my MSW from the 5th best School of Social Work in the country, and a program with an incredibly strong research and clinical background. The more I talk with my professors, advisors, and peers about transitioning into the field, and how I should best prepare, the more I am reminded how invested each member of this program is in my success, not only in the classroom but also once I graduate. Fourteen months ago, during the first days of JumpStart, I heard from a faculty member that close to 80-90 percent of students who graduate from UNC’s MSW program have a job related to their interests within a few months post-graduation. This number may be exaggerated, but it is not far from the truth. I am in the process of registering for next semester’s classes, and I am astounded at the variety of classes our program offers. The selection ranges from courses focusing on different treatment modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and interpersonal therapy, all the way to more systems oriented topics like administration and management, human resource management, and sustainable development. There is even a course specifically designed to help prepare students for contemporary clinical practice, covering topics such as managed care, independent, practice, ethics, and self-care – a course I will definitely be taking. The point I am making by emphasizing the variety and breadth of courses is that this program is committed to ensuring we as students walk away with the skill set necessary to obtain jobs in our areas of interest. I am excited for my last semester because I know my course work, coupled with my field experience and the professional development workshops offered by the school, will ultimately prepare me to be a competent social worker. The conversations I am having with faculty about the licensure process and applying for jobs has given me a lot of confidence as I look towards graduation. I am so grateful to call myself a Carolina social work student; it is not just a title, but rather it is a true connection to a school and network that will continue to support and influence me long after I leave.

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About Rayhaan Adams

Hey! My name is Rayhaan Adams. I'm a 2nd year MSW student in the full-time program. I'm originally from Cape Town, South Africa but have lived in Singapore, Germany, and now reside in Cary, only a few miles down the road. I attended UNC for undergrad, and can't see myself leaving anytime soon. My primary interests are at-risk youth and single parent families, as well as children and their families in the medical setting. If you don't see me around campus, I'm probably running, golfing, road-tripping, or hanging out with my family.
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