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, May 28, 2010

Farewell Post From Ms. T. J.

Honorable Clarence Thomas, Ms. T. J., and Dr. Earl G. Yarbrough, Sr.
(Photography by Upscale Images)

I STARTED POSTING TO THIS BLOG on Tuesday, December 9, 2008. My editor, Linda Grobman, and I negotiated the assignment: I would post about my experiences as a non-traditional student earning a Master's degree in Social Work. The blog posts would be about my trials, joys, and lessons daily, weekly, or sometimes only monthly (if it was finals, mid-terms, or "just all too much!").

Little did I know it would become so much more for me.

There were nights when I was blocked while writing a term paper, and I turned to the blog as a distraction. At times I posted when I was in a euphoric state --when my mind was absolutely, positively, fired with passion for my new charge in life. Sometimes I was lonely. The lifestyle of a serious graduate student does not leave space for much more than reading, writing, and research. I wanted to quit a few times, too. Ranting about it brought my frustrations to the surface, where I could deal with them.

I'll admit there were times when I did not want to post to the blog, when I decided no one was reading it anyway, and I was angry at myself for taking on this extra task. Those times were few and far-between, though, because it never failed: Just when I had determined that nobody cared about my thoughts and words (and I'm sure there were people who felt that way), I would get an amazing reply or private e-mail from a reader who thanked me, gave me a great idea, or just let me know they were there.

I have been moved to tears by some of your responses. One person told me they were ready to give up and then found one of the posts I had written when I wanted to give up, and they said they hung in there, and stayed in school for the rest of the semester. Several readers have asked for my advice regarding whether or not they should go to school, and I shared my experience, strength, and hope with them. Many regular readers bolstered my spirits when I was sick (usually during a long break!), stressed, or tired. I am so grateful for you (you know who you are!).

My favorite replies were those from readers who wrote that my post(s) helped them in some small way. It was then that I knew it was all worth it. I became a social worker so I might help another human being to help themselves. The process of writing on this blog was a way to sort things out, and it helped me to see that I have chosen the right path. I recommend writing in a journal, or posting to a blog, to all social work students, and those who are in the field, too. I plan to continue writing until I leave the planet because it is such a meaningful way to "get it all out."

Now that I have earned my M. S. W., and I am employed in my field, it is time to end my postings on this blog. My husband, who was so encouraging during this journey, has suggested that I develop a Web site with a blog, and I am considering that. For now, I want to take the time I need to acclimate myself to my new career and agency so that I can be an effective, professional clinician.

I want to end this adventure by saying, "Thank you." I send a big "Thanks" to Linda Grobman and "The New Social Worker" online magazine for offering to me this amazing opportunity.

"Thank you, Readers." I could not, and would not, have done it without you. I wish for you the best in your endeavors as a student, clinician, and/or reader. You matter in the world--and you are needed and valued.

Respectfully yours,
Ms. T. J.


  1. When my the journey to earning my MSW feels impossible, I know I will turn back here to read your words. Thank you for that!

    And good luck! :)

  2. My BSW professors at Iona College encourage all of us students to go to the counseling sessions for a positive way of "getting it all out". I, too, found that by blogging that helps rather than talking to someone face to face. I looked forward to your daily or weekly postings through out your journey. I can not wait for you to start a new blog with the musings of working in the new agency and all. 

    Good Luck and you will have to let us all know when you have another blog up and running!!

  3. TJ, your contributions to this blog and to THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER have been fantastic.  Thank you for sharing your insights, ups, and downs with our readers.  It has meant so much.  I can't wait to see where you go next in your social work career!

    Linda Grobman
    Publisher/Editor, THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER

  4. P.S.  To our readers:  TJ's final column will appear in the Summer 2010 issue of THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER, which will be out in early July!

  5. I love the pic you have chosen for your last post!!!!! 

     T.J., MSW, you truly are:

    2 GOOD
    2 BE
    4 GOTTEN!

    I couldn't resist :o)

    All the best & more to you... glad to know you will still be writing!

  6. I am restarting my journey to obtain my MSW. i dropped out in February of 08 due to illnes of my father in  law who since then has passed away, i didnt know this would take a toll on me and my family we endured Hurricane Ike along the way i just got the courage to continue my journey, I took a leave from my job as a Rehab Clinician. I got my cetification in December of 09.  However i am having a difficult time passing the Generalist and Sped exams to become certified. I am horrified of not passing these exams before 2010 school session start in August. I have been studying since January 2010. to pass but i have been unsucessful.

    Thanks for the encouragement  T.J MSW and congradulations

  7. Good luck in your new endeavours TJ! It was always a joy reading your posts.

  8. CONGRATULATIONS! You have been an inspiration!

  9. I also was a non-traditional student and took greate solice in following your trials as they were reflective of my own.  It sort of validates the efficacy of group work in the online world having some value for people who are just to stretched to go meet in a brick and mortar setting.

    What surprised me most is the lack of opportunities to find work without completing my licensure and having an undergrad degree in another discipline.  I had hoped to prevent a foreclosure if I could get work immediately after graduating to justify a loan negotiation.
    I am now homeless and only able to work a few hours per week until I test.  Gee this really dangerous position for someone my age.

    Send me one last tips about overcoiming ageism in Social Work.    

  10. TJ, it has been a pleasure to read about your journey. I am sure that the remainder will be successful and that you will be a brilliant addition to our team! Have a fabulous life and keep in touch via Linda or facebook or somesuch device.

  11. T.J., I'll really miss your blog! I've always looked forward to reading it. Good luck to you in your Social Work career.

  12. CONGRATS!!  Best wishes for a wonderful future!

  13. Thanks alot for your ideas and solution that is worth of emulation while i looks forward to read more of your blog.