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The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

7 weeks to go, but who's counting?

I'M TAKING STOCK. I am breaking it down. I looked at all my assignments, readings and projects that are due between now and Dec. 5, our last weekend of the semester, and I made a plan.

I decided to work ahead. [gasp!]

I am going to do the stuff I can do now, and try to lighten my load for later. I finished a paper last week that is due this week. I finished an assignment this week that is due on the 30th of this month, and I started working on another paper that is due in November. While I have always looked and planned ahead, I have not had the luxury or energy, due to my full-time job, of actually finishing ahead of time.

In a way, it is an experiment of sorts. I have done quite well just staying the course. I have suffered from the stress of late-night cramming and writing papers, but I always pulled it off. I would like to try a different way, a healthier, more sane way, and see how that feels.

I'll let you know how it goes. As always, I'd love to hear about how you do it. It helps me, and others, too, to hear about your journey in graduate school, or school, in general.

~Ms. T. J.


  1. I work ahead as much as possible. I get worried/freaked out when I do last minute work, so I try to avoid it as much as possible!

  2. Ash-

    I rarely do "last minute work," but sometimes I cut it close. I am wondering how far ahead you work?

    T. J.

  3. Well, I'm almost done with a treatment paper and case study that are due mid-November. I have a very busy work and intern schedule, so I try and get as much schoolwork done as possible to minimize my stress. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. My course load isn't as heavy as yours though. However, I plan to go full-time next year! >:O

  4. Thanks, Ash. It helps me to get a sense of how others do it and how I stack up, too! I am sure other people will benefit from hearing about "how it works" for all of us...

  5. Thanks for your thoughts! That's great that you can work ahead! The first half of the semester was a little hectic, and I was working on keeping-up.  Now I will work on getting ahead. 

  6. I am an eternal procrasinator.  I can sit down a week ahead and try to start writing and get like a paragraph done and then I'm off wandering the internet or convincing myself i need to research more, organize more, plan more and getting very little done.  I've actually gotten a lot better at not doing this so far this year . . . but that's mostly because now that I'm in the advance classes and studying the kinds of things I wanted to study in the first place, things are just flowing better for me.  I sit down and it just comes out and it works.  I've definitely gone with my strengths in picking macro because it just makes sense to me on some sort of subconscious level.  It's like you know how some people just understand math and others (like me!) have to memorize the formulas and try to remember them but it never really sinks in as to why the formulas do what they do . . .

  7. Sorry, don't know why it showed up as guest! That was me!

  8. Amy Rose-
    I'd love to hear more about what you are calling MACRO. We have clinical and admin MSW tracks, and I am guessing it is similar to admin?

  9. TJ,

    I found a few resources on macro social work:


    My belief is that the line between micro-mezzo-macro practice is not that clear cut...social workers in clinical or direct practice may also be advocates for their clients, for example.  See my book MORE DAYS IN THE LIVES OF SOCIAL WORKERS for examples.


  10. Thanks, Linda. This was very helpful.

  11. Linda was quick and as always correct.  My school splits us into micro -- Individuals, Families & Groups and Macro -- Organizations and Communities.  The micro vs macro debate rages amonst my fellow classmate because many of them want more of a mix or want to do both.  For example, if you plan to go micro and want to run your own practice, I'd bet the Financial Management class that I'm taking next semester would be useful.  My school, the University of South Carolina looks at macro from a "running your own non-profit" perspective (which is actually something I'm NOT planning on doing, although I expect one day to end up the director of something, my goal isn't to start a new one, per se, like many of my classmates). 

    The classes for us break down like this:  the micros take advanced individuals, advanced families, andvanced groups & supervision and case consultation.  Macros take Community Organizing, Social Planning (i.e., strategic planning, business planning), Admin Skills (how to run a non-profit), and Financial Management.

    A lot of people think of Macro as supervision of clinical people but really its not -- how could I supervise clinicals when I don't really like clinical and don't actually do it myself?  The Boston U. site that Linda linked hit what I am seeking in in Macro career: planning, program development, community organizing, policy analysis, legislative advocacy, program evaluation, task-oriented group work, community education, and human services management.

  12. Thanks for the explanation, Amy. That makes sense to me.