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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.

Friday, January 8, 2010

First Day of our Last Semester


TODAY OUR COHORT OF 23 STUDENTS returned to the classroom. We exchanged warm greetings and hugs as we settled in, once again, to the business of getting our MSWs. But this semester is different, for this is the final leg of our graduate school journey.

In Integrative Seminar class, a course that promises to bring all that we've learned into focus as well as help us identify our strengths, our Prof addressed us with a bit of a "reality check" lecture. He assured us that this would be our toughest class and that we would find out if we were made of the stuff that is required to become social workers. He also said that it's a class where the faculty will determine if we have the qualities necessary to make it in this field. Our Prof said the MSW is the toughest degree offered at the university, and it ranks right up there as one of the toughest of all graduate-level degrees.

It was a sobering speech, and it helped me to reassess my goals (once more!) and to reflect upon the hard work that we have all produced during these past semesters.

This has not been a cakewalk. And it shouldn't be. We will be working with others as social workers in schools, hospitals, child welfare agencies, senior centers, military bases, hospice centers, convalescent homes, assisted living facilities and drug and alcohol centers, to name a few. We must be professionals who have earned the right to caregive, help, and intervene with individuals, groups, and families.

What an order! As I looked around at the men and women I have spent the past days, weeks and years with, I felt a sense of solidarity, if you will, with the group (it's also a word that our Prof used). We've laughed, we've cried, we've disagreed with one another, and we have banded together seemingly as one. We have commiserated and cajoled one another.

And it ain't over yet! While I look forward to the day when we will walk on the stage to collect our diplomas, I know I must plant my feet in this moment, because the moment is all I've got.

~Ms. T. J.

10 comments:

  1. BSW College StudentJanuary 8, 2010 at 10:45 PM

    Congrats to you!!! How exciting to know that you are SO CLOSE to being done with school!!! I pray for the focus that is needed for this next semester and guidance for where you need help. Keep up the good work!!

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  2. Im glad to here that a speech like that is being given - I certainly wish that they'd given that one a number of times during my MSW program. We have an awesome responsibility as social workers - and sadly, I don' think every social worker has been informed about just how important understanding that fact is.

    Hope your last semester goes well!

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  3. Keep going TJ you can do it!!

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  4. Thank you so much. Your support is so important.
    ~Ms. T. J.

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  5. I, too, was glad to hear his words. Thanks for the great feedback.
    ~Ms. T. J.

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  6. Thanks, Karen!
    ~Ms. T. J.

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  7. So your professors wait until the last semester to see if you have what it takes to be a social worker? I'd say its' a little late for that! I am glad that they have acknowledged that the MSW program is a tough, intensive program. I started a Masters in Education degree about 20 years ago, took a few classes, and decided I really didn't want to teach, but did not find the classes that difficult. However, last year, when I started an MSW program, I found the program very stressful and much more difficult than the M.Ed. I thought it was just that I was 20 years older, and my brain wasn't functioning the way it used to!

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  8. You know, Betsy, you aren't the first person to have that reaction. And I, too, wondered why they would wait until the last semester to address this.  I am sure they have talked about it to some degree all along, and now they are really putting it to us so we will realize what we are about to get into.  That is interesting that you are finding the MSW degree to be more challenging than the M.Ed.  I figured they were equally stressful.  I must say doing this at 50 sometimes feels crazy!  I guess 50 really is the new 30!
    ~Ms. T. J.

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  9. Sounds like they are trying to head-off the inevitable senioritis!  I start up again on Saturday myself for also my last semester and I wonder what kind of lecture we'll get in our "capstone" class.  I know someone last year who was in it and the prof intentially gave nothing higher than a D on the first assignment to make a point -- step up your game, folks, it's the playoffs!

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  10. Amy Rose: Good for you, Glad we are on this path together!
    ~Ms. T. J.

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