Fall break has come and gone (October 18th-21st), as we quickly approach Thanksgiving and the final weeks of the fall 2012 semester. As busy as this semester has been, I always find myself planning and looking forward in the spirit of staying busy. Instead of getting ahead of myself, I’ve learned to slow down and reflect on my experience. Quickly approaching the end of my academic career, this skill has become more valuable during my time in the program. As Ferris Bueller once said, “life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you just might miss it”.
Over fall break I had the experience of attending my first professional psychotherapy conference, the Mid Atlantic Group Psychotherapy Society’s, “Effective Group Psychotherapist”. This conference was an incredible experience on a variety of levels and was a great first conference to attend. As a master’s level student, you will find that you will often be able to attend conferences for free, on scholarship, or at a reduced fee. In addition, being a student in the MSW program, our Social Work Student Organization (SOWOSO) will often provide some funding for travel expenses for in-state and out-of-state conferences. Overall, being a student here makes professional development events incredibly accessible and affordable.
However, the most exciting part of this conference was the fact that I am able to make the knowledge applicable to my field placement experience. Specifically, I have been able to apply this conference experience to the groups I lead at my agency, which has given me a lot more confidence in my abilities. In general, this second year I have seen a tremendous amount of crossover between my professional development, classroom experience, and field practicum. As I near my final semester, I feel as though things are beginning to come together academically and professionally. The opportunities for growth here at UNC are abundant, I feel very fortunate!
Until next time,