Grad school is hard. Between classes, work and field, it’s easy to feel overstretched. There are days when I come home and ask myself, “Is this worth it? Should I have come back to grad school? What in the world am I doing?” Fortunately, those days are few and far in between but when my battery is running low, those voices of uncertainty can begin to creep in. It’s at that point that I have to take a deep breath and remind myself why Carolina and a MSW were right for me.
After college, I had the opportunity to work as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a community resource center in DC. Though my main job was coordinating trainings and pilot programs, I also worked one on one with community members to work on their goals. After my first couple of months, it became abundantly clear that if you wanted to get something done, you called a social worker. Wanted to find a substance abuse treatment program? Call a social worker. Wanted to lobby for affordable housing? Call a social worker. Wanted to create a new community program? You guessed it, call a social worker. I was inspired by the social workers I saw partnering with members in the community to create major individual and societal changes. Additionally, social workers follow their own code of ethics (check it out! LINK) that values social justice, the dignity and worth of individuals and the importance of human relationships. I had found my people and I knew I wanted to go back to school to officially become part of their tribe.
The next step was deciding on a school. I asked family and friends, read online articles and made pro-con lists. Nothing however compared to coming to visit. I decided to drive one afternoon to see campus and attend an information session. Secretly, I hoped I would really hate it so I wouldn’t have to leave my home state. But I loved it. I was impressed by the amount the faculty really cared about and invested into the students. I was inspired by the work students were doing in their classrooms and their field placements. And I was won over the beauty of the state and the little piece of heaven I found in Carrboro. I liked it so much that I applied even after bombing the math section of the GRE.
UNC’s School of Social Work is not a perfect institution by far and the field of social work is still shifting to meet the needs of the community and populations it serves. However, I am happy I decided to move to North Carolina and pursue my MSW. I know when I graduate I will have the skills and knowledge I need to start a career in social work and I can’t wait to get back out in the field.