Graduation? Job Hunting? Here we go.

I recently submitted my application to graduate in May and needless to say, it all feels a little surreal. I can recollect the nervousness and excitement that I felt during orientation two years ago and feel satisfied now knowing how far I have come in my education and personal growth. Having said, in this moment I am feeling that familiar nervousness and excitement as I brace myself for this final semester before taking the leap into “job-land”. Instead of dwelling on the impending job search, I think it would be more helpful for me to stop and reflect on what I’ve gained.


In light of my upcoming transition into social work as a young professional, I feel that my experience at UNC has opened a great deal of opportunities for professional development. Through my field placement, I have been able to receive training in family systems work based in the Satir model with the other clinicians in my agency. Overall, I feel honored to be a part of the process of increasing my family systems knowledge. This training has been paramount to how I approach my work with clients experiencing addiction issues and how family systems have played a significant role. The more I delve into my work in the substance abuse field, the more I see working with my clients’ family system as critical to their recovery. Incorporating family systems into the recovery process feels exciting in terms of the opportunities it provides for my clients’ growth and support. The Satir model is a natural and practical way to apply the social work perspective to clinical practice with a variety of client populations, as it honors clients’ uniqueness, strength, and resilience.


As I think of the importance of the Satir model, I recall three questions we were first asked as we began our training: How did I come to be here? How do I feel being here? What do I want to have happen?


Asking these questions has not only fostered an incredible amount of helpful information in understanding my clients, but has been a nice way to reflect on my MSW experience here in the waning months.


So as you begin your MSW journey, I would also encourage you to consider those three questions: How did you come to be here? How do you feel being here? What do you want to have happen?


Slow down and enjoy the ride. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once and a while, you might just miss it.


Until next time,




About Reiss Powell

I am a second year full time student originally from Wilmington, North Carolina. My concentration is direct practice and my primary social work interests are working with the SPMI population, veterans, those dealing with substance abuse issues. My current field placement is at an outpatient substance abuse facility. When I'm not enjoying social work activities, I partake in hiking, camping, and spending time at the beach.
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