Welcome to The New Social Worker's Blog

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.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Everybody Needs a Mentor

SHORTLY BEFORE I BEGAN MY GRADUATE SCHOOL ADVENTURE, I learned that a woman in the community whom I had admired from afar, had gone through the same MSW program. I ran into her at a community theater presentation of "The Vagina Monologues" , and introduced myself. It turned out that she knew my husband.

I asked her if we could have coffee someday to talk about her experience at the university I would soon be attending.

That first coffee break turned into a monthly lunch meeting which has continued to this day. I met her today at noontime to catch her up with my most recent school-related happenings and to hear about her life at the agency where she works. It occurred to me during our meal that I have never blogged about this important person in my life.

For the most part, she had the same profs and classes that I do, so we can communicate about assignments and other related stuff. She has shed really bright light on situations which really helped me when things got stressful. She has sent well-timed texts and left "atta girl" voice mails. And she has had her share of stress and heartbreak during these two years. I've actually worried that I was being too much of an energy vampire, so I prayed that I could be just as giving to her as she is to me. I can only aspire to this, I fear.

I thought it might be helpful to make this suggestion: if you can find a graduate of your BSW or MSW program to act as your mentor, you may want to try it out. This woman has been a God-send to me. She has talked me down and lifted me up. She has helped me to realize what truly matters and what is not worth another thought. She has cheered me and laughed with me and watched me cry.

And the coolest part of all? She probably doesn't even realize the half of what she means to me. Without her, I could have done it. But, with her, it has made all the difference in the world.

~Ms. T. J.

7 comments:

  1. Hello T.J.

    You also make a difference in the world with your blogs.  One day after you complete your education, you make even a bigger difference.

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  2. How kind of you to say, Oretha.

    Happy holidays to you and your loved ones.

    ~Ms. T. J.

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  3. I'm so glad that you have a mentor you 'click' with. You're absolutely right that everyone needs one; I wish that more schools of social work were intentional in helping students (and recent graduates, when it really might be even more crucial) to find mentors. Happy new year!

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  4. So true, Melinda! I think that it would be very important to have a mentor after graduation, too!  I will definitely seek out MSW professionals where ever I go.

    Happy New Year to you, too!
    ~Ms. T. J.

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  5. Jessica S. Sawyer, LCSWJanuary 5, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    I agree with the others.  It is important for up coming social workers and professional social workers to pass the professional baton, which means social workers should share their experiences and knowledge with pending social workers in school and recent graduates.

    When I got out of college, I was fortunate to have a circle of supportive social work supervisors and colleagues!!

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  6. My name is Francisco J. Lerma, and I am currently studying Parent Education at Rio Salado Community College, with the hopes of attending Pima Community College to obtain an Associates of Applied Sciences Degree in Social Work. I am in need of someone experienced in either(preferably both) fields,that can tell me what skills and knowledge I would need to seek out on my own so that I can at least start building the foundation upon which my future will be built. Please feel free to contact me: flerma223@gmail.com

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  7. I am sorta new to the field of Social work not social services. I have a B.A. in Social Science and some graduate courses in Social work. I have now applied to three classes and am awaiting acceptance. I have plenty of experience in human services, volunteering and such what else can and should I expect from this profession?

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