Last week I felt like I entered a new realm entirely. How convenient that the week started with a solar eclipse! In many ways, solar eclipses signify transitions. Although I’ve completed two part time years with the UNC School of Social Work this next year is a HUGE transition for me. As a third year Distance Education student, this year is my first year as a full-time student. This meant recently having to quit my full-time job of several years. A number of emotions have coincided with this transition; excitement, nervousness, concern for financial stability and course workload, and curiosity for where this next year will lead me.
This is also the first time in over 10 years I’ve been considered an “intern”. While there were many “pro’s” of doing my foundation placement through my employer, I didn’t get a sense of being in a completely new learning environment. With only three days so far in my field placement, I don’t yet know exactly how I will be viewed in the primary health care clinic I’m placed and how I will be integrated into the site. At first, I thought I would dread the transition from a full time employee workweek with agency, responsibility, and ownership. But while I miss my job tremendously, (I was a Program Director for an AmeriCorps program at UNC) I have felt a new and exciting energy in my field replacement that I know will allow me to grow and develop my career in imperative ways. In field this year, I’ll get to work with adults and children, English and Spanish speaking in both individual treatment and group therapy. Treatment modalities will include CBT, solution based treatment, mindfulness, motivational interviewing and many more techniques. I’m pleased to be able to continue to develop macro level skills in program development and needs assessments, but also excited to dive into more concentrated direct level practice.
Whether you’re a new student in the MSW program, or are considering applying, I’m here to tell you, YOU CAN DO THIS. Yes, this program is a big commitment, but is it worth it, YES! Rather you knock it out in 2 years or continuing working and do one of the Distance Education programs, it is achievable and you will have a team of support on your side.
I oftentimes remind myself- This program is temporary, voluntary, and for a greater good!