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.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Writing down the bones

That's what I've been doing. I have been reading and writing about behavioral theories: you know the players -- Freud, Skinner, Rogers, Piaget and Vgotsky. We won't even talk about "where are the women?"

I want to say that I am all over it, as in -- I love this career. I feel lit up; on fire; passionate. I am exhausted --and giddy! I just wrote my last paper for the semester and I feel darn good about it.

--Ms. T. J.

"The deepest secret in our heart of hearts is that we are writing because we love the world ... let the whole thing flower ... and let us always be kind in this world" (Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones, p. 120).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The home stretch!

Okay, everybody! I just finished my BIG policy paper assignment and I completed my power-point chapter presentation a few days ago.

I feel like I have climbed a mountain, or achieved something really monumental.

I am exhausted, yet I am sort of savoring this feeling -- this "spent-ness," if you will. I almost feel like I could cry ... or laugh maniacally!

But, hey, I can still make a sandwich, so I must be okay.

What the what, you ask?

Let me explain. Many years ago, a dear, and particularly bright friend of mine told me that a professor told her MSW class that as long as you can make yourself a bologna sandwich (and she said bologna, so you know how long ago that was --when bologna was acceptable meat!), you are okay. But, if the day comes when you can't make yourself that sandwich, you are probably in need of in-patient mental health treatment.

I have never forgotten that, and I probably shouldn't admit this to you, but there have been days this semester when I've thought, "Can I still make a bologna sandwich?" I couldn't, but it was only because I don't eat bologna. I could, however make myself an avocado and tomato, a turkey, or a PB and J sandwich!

So, before I head off to bed, I am taking a moment to pat myself on the back for the work I've done today. I don't do that enough. You probably don't either, do you? I will if you will!

Just one more paper, a field journal, two exams, and a presentation to go...

--Ms. T. J.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Trying to take a little time...

...to smell the first rose that opened in our garden this spring.

Counting my blessings-
--Ms. T. J.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

two papers, two mid-terms and two presentations in two weeks


Yep. It's true. When I write it and look at it, it seems impossible. I have to do all of that in less than two weeks. Of course when you work full time and have 20 hours of field practice, it's not weeks you have to work with, but rather days. Hours, really.

Can I do it? Yes. Does it seem daunting? Yes.

What's my game plan?

1. Finish the first presentation for this coming Tuesday within the next day or two.
2. Devote the rest of the time to my policy paper that is also due this Tuesday.
3. Then start on my theory integration paper which is due on the 28th.

The final exams?
1. The one that will be this coming Tuesday, I'll have to just pray and hope to do well (seriously). I can't study and prepare a presentation and write a paper.
2. The other exam? I will study for that after I finish my theory integration paper.

The final presentation?
The date has not been determined. I am not going to worry about it (she says, but no one believes her!)

You may be wondering if this could have been done any other way. The answer, for me: Nope.

Send me all your prayers and highest thoughts, please. I will return the favor, I promise, by becoming an amazing social worker.

--Ms. T. J.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

If Shakespeare were alive today, couldn't you just picture him asking that question? It's really amazing how fast technology tools are being developed these days. It's one of my favorite topics and I still have a hard time keeping on top of all the technology sometimes!

For those of you who have no idea what Twitter is, I highly recommend watching this Daily Show clip:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Twitter Frenzy
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

For an upcoming SW 2.0 column, I'm looking to focus on and showcase how social workers use services like Twitter. Do you use Twitter? If so, have any issues come up for your social work practice? What do you recommend to other social workers interested in learning why and how to use Twitter?

You can check out my Twitter updates at: http://twitter.com/karenzgoda

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) is April 21, 2009. The world premiere of the Hallmark Hall of Fame film, "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler," which tells the story of the Polish-born heroine and social worker who rescued 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II, will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, at the Liberty Theatre, 113 S. Main St., Fort Scott, Kansas. The Kansas screening is by invitation only. The film will air nationwide on CBS Sunday, April 19, at 9 Eastern Time/8 Central Time. Sendler’s heroic story was largely unknown until four Kansas high school students brought it to the forefront in their National History Day project in 1999, in which they created the play, “Life in a Jar.” Sendler died May 12, 2008 at age 98. Read more about her at http://www.irenasendler.org/. For more about the film, see: http://www.cbs.com/specials/courageous_heart/

Friday, April 10, 2009

The paper

DID YA EVER have the paper? You know the paper? The one that seems impossible to write and even harder of which to grasp the focus ?

I had one of those recently. I did all the research and put together a decent paper, it just felt like the hardest thing I ever had to do -- all the way up until the end.

It might be the topic, or the lack of clear directions, or, it might just be me. Sometimes I am not going to "get it." And, you know, sometimes it's okay to "not figure it out." That is hard for me. I am the type of person who wants to understand entire processes. I am often "on a need to know" mission. And, it often bites me in the posterior!

So, I did the task for task's sake (that's my new motto, BTW: Do the task for the task's sake) and when I got to class, guess what? My professor, who had clearly been assaulted by requests and questions from my classmates, proclaimed: "You can hand it in today as one of two parts (the initial assignment), or you can hand it in next week as one paper with two parts."

UGH. Grrr ... there are no words.

I shall finish this task for task's sake and be very glad when it's over!

--Ms. T. J.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Triggers and memories

IT WAS BOUND to happen sooner or later. I've read and heard about it many times.

I was triggered today.

As I sat in a family session with my field instructor, our adolescent client, and her father, I was triggered.

As soon as her father walked in, I knew it. He was my father -- or rather the father of my adolescent years. He was charming, and humorous, and handsome ... and a man in denial that he had a drinking problem. It is important for me to state that my father is sober today, and has been for many years.

I became aware of my feelings and reactions during the session, and I was grateful that I was observing and not leading the family group. There were a few moments when I flashbacked to some painful memories, but I was able to come back to the present moment in a relatively short amount of time. I know this will happen again and that I will be fine.

I was fine today.

I just wanted to say it --and write it -- and to share with you what it was like for me today.

--Ms. T. J.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring is here...

Hello, everyone! Spring is here (although it was SNOWING last night in Harrisburg, PA), and with it comes the new issue of THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER magazine. The Spring 2009 issue is available, free of charge, in PDF format directly from The New Social Worker Web site.

To download the Spring 2009 issue, go to:

Articles from this issue are also available on our Web site (http://www.socialworker.com) in Web format.

Here are some highlights from this issue:

• Student Role Model: Ashley Bunnell
• The Day Self-Determination Died: The Challenges of Implementing Self-Determination in Day-to-Day Life
• Students Face Client Suicide: A Painful Reality
• A Different Kind of Teacher
• An MSW Student’s Life
• Different Strokes: Art and Photo Therapy Promote Healing
• The Need to Inject the Social in Addressing Mechanistic Clinical Misconceptions Found in Long-Term Care Environments
• Coming Home as a Social Worker: A Recent Graduate's Experience in Professionally Helping Within Her Community
• Building Your Private Practice
• SW 2.0: CaringBridge
• An Accidental Job Search
• Social Work Students Learn About Harm Reduction in Switzerland

In this issue, I am especially excited to introduce our new technology columnist, Karen Zgoda. She starts off the new SW 2.0 column with a review of CaringBridge.org, a site that provides free online communities for people who are critically ill, in treatment, or in recovery.

If you are a follower of this blog, you have probably already been introduced to both Karen and our MSW student columnist, T. J.


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