Tagged: social work

The Struggle: Narrated by the Lyrics of Taylor Swift

Baby, I know places we won’t be found, and they’ll be chasing their tails trying to track us down. Cause I know places we can hide. -Taylor Swift “I Know Places”

I might be over-interpreting here, but I think Taylor Swift wants us to run away from our adult responsibilities. I mean… seems pretty clear to me. Excuse me while I pack up my office and high-tail it out of the world of time sheets and alarm clocks. 🙂

Seriously though, am I the only one that likes their job but in the same respect wants to turn in their grown up card for a good session of binge-watching Law & Order? (SVU, of course. In case you were wondering). It’s like a completely equal mix of “this isn’t that bad! What a fulfilling work day” and “Oh my god, I have to do this EVERY DAY? Until I’m in my 60’s?” It’s a bummer to go back and forth between half glass full on Monday and “half-full, half-empty… who cares, just add vodka” by Wednesday. I know that in a way, this is completely normal. I mean, no one loves the monotony that is adulthood all the time. Have you ever heard someone be like, “well, yes, I would LOVE to do that super annoying task that is not in my job description. In fact- I’ll do it for FREE! Just for kicks!” No. No you haven’t. (If you have- don’t trust that person. If YOU’RE that person… none of your co-workers like you. Sorry, but it’s true). On the flip side, though, it kind of sucks. Is this life post-college? Work is ok, then it sucks, then it’s the weekend (whoo!), then work is ok, then it sucks…

You know that saying, “if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”? Bullshit. I’m pretty sure even Taylor Swift, the multi-millionaire, award-winning, owns a house in every country, megastar isn’t all “I LOVE THIS!!!” all of the time. Yet, somehow, there’s still this pressure that you have to put on this act that your job/life is just completely blissful 24/7 or it just wasn’t “worth it”. I’ve had many instances where I’ve said something like “man, what a crazy day. I had to insert sucky thing here” and I’ll get some kind of response akin to “well, YOU picked that major” or “told ya not to go into social work”. Well geez, that escalated quickly. I said a portion of my day sucked, not that I wanted to flip my desk and set my degree on fire. I think it’s kind of a grown up rite of passage that we are allotted a certain amount of bitching; like how kids get to complain that they’re “bored” all the time.

Back to obsessively listening to Taylor’s new CD. Some things never change, no matter your age. 😉

xo,

A

Enough is Enough

Working with older youth, it’s common to discuss goals. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten? What kind of education will you seek? What kind of career do you want? What is important to you?

Five years? They’ll say. I don’t know where I’ll live next month, let alone 5 years.

Ten years? They laugh.

Education? I don’t know. I want to make something of myself.

Career? I want to make good money. I want to provide for myself.

What’s important? Family. Happiness.

The answers are so vague, yet so clear. These kids want what we all want, I think. When it comes down to it, we all want to be loved. We all want to feel like we have succeeded in our accomplishments. Whatever path we take with school and work, we all just want to look back and say “I am happy”. Sure, we want the nice paycheck and a lavish home to go to after a long day at work, but that’s not what really matters. What matters is that when we lay down to bed at night, we can say that we are healthy, we are happy, we are grateful.

Sometimes life can seem overwhelming. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what path to take. Sometimes it’s easier to take no path at all; to succumb to the “I can’t” attitude. Sometimes, though, all it takes is a gentle reminder that the every day subtleties; your morning cup of coffee, your favorite song on the radio, a night in with your family… those are enough.

This life is enough, even if you haven’t got it all figured out just yet.

xo,

A

Accomplishments & Stuff

“I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
― Thomas Jefferson

Ok so I kind of went M.I.A there for a little bit, but I’ve been really busy with school. In fact I’m taking a break from the paper I’ve been attempting (and failing) to write all day. I’m on page two of fifteen… baby steps, right?

So, for once I actually have different things going on other than the mundane response of “work, school, you know.” I landed an AWESOME internship at a foster care agency and I couldn’t be happier! There were 3 places that my advisor was looking at, and the one I ended up meeting with was my top choice. 🙂 It’s going to be a really great opportunity that allows me to explore all types of different programs within the social work community. Hooray!

I also cleared up an issue with my transcript that was going to prevent me from applying for graduation next semester. I’ve been trying to get this resolved for around 4-5 months, so this is another HUGE hooray.

Basically, things are going great and I am so glad that I stayed committed to getting my education despite the many times it would have been easier to throw in the towel. I remember very clearly being 18 in my first shitty apartment, making less than $8 an hour at Joann Fabrics, thinking that my “real life” was so far off. I was so incredibly impatient and I wanted the house, the car, the kids, the marriage right now. Brandon would tell me all the time that “we will get there” but I didn’t believe him. I thought that I was going to be forever stuck in my awful apartment with forest green carpet and coin-operated laundry. Now, albeit 5 years later, things are finally falling into place and I realize more than ever that hard work pays off. These things didn’t happen just because time passed and I got older; they happened because I worked for them. I put myself through college, I decided that I wanted a career rather than a job and I made it happen.

It might sound self-centered and braggy (I don’t think that’s really a word) but damn it, I’m proud of myself.

& I’m going to try to stop being so scatter-brained and write more than once every other two weeks, promise.

If you’re feeling like your goals are too complex or are too far-reached… just keep going. You can do it.

college

college3

college4

-A

Hello, I’m not dead

I got an awesome internship for next semester and I am four weeks shy of being done with classes.

I am tired and I think I talk to myself more than my friends.

I am not, however, dead.

When the sight of my computer screen doesn’t make me want to throw up or gouge my eyeballs out, I’ll post something that consists of real sentences. Bear with me. 🙂

Hope all is well in the world out there,

This about sums it up.

This about sums it up.

-A

All in the numbers

Two weeks after I graduated high school, I got my first job. (Minus that one weekend I worked at McDonald’s in 10th grade). Two months after that, I started a program at a Business/Tech school. One year after that, I quit school and took a year to figure out what I wanted to do. During that time, I switched jobs and considered not going back to school at all. After deciding a life in retail wasn’t for me, I started at a traditional college for a degree in Communication Disorders. Somewhere around there I quit my retail job and started working at a restaurant. A year later, I changed my mind again and switched to a Social Work degree. In the past five years I’ve worked three different jobs, gone to two different schools and gone down three different career paths.

I’ve taken 115 credits worth of classes (plus more that didn’t transfer), spent countless hours doing homework and writing papers and probably even more hours bitching about it. I’ve gone to God knows how many hours of classes, spent insane amounts of quarters on the toll road on my way there and filled up my gas tank an obscene amount of times.

I’ve said “I just want to quit” hundreds of time in the past five years, but the finish line is finally getting close. In just ten short months, I get to quit counting the number of homework assignments, the toll money and the hours spent Facebooking/blogging to avoid studying studying. In ten months I get to graduate and hopefully find employment so I can stop counting tips, too.

Today is my last pre-graduation check to make sure everything is in order before I start my practicum. Crossing my fingers that everything goes well, and if it does…

Then I’ll have to start the countdown until my student loan repayment begins, and well, we won’t rush that. 🙂

student loans

-A

You’re majoring in WHAT? (And other annoying things people to say me)

For whatever reason, people at my job always want to know what I’m doing when I’m not handing them dumplings. As if we are on a blind date and they are trying to get to know me, when really, I just want their money. (I feel like jaws just dropped all over the place. WHAT?! Serves DON’T just work for the fun of it?!)

blog 3

Anyways, the conversations usually go something like this:

Customer: “So are you in school?”

Me: “Yep.”

What if I wasn’t? I feel like the conversation would get really awkward. Like, no asshole, this is all I do. This is the end of the line for me. So thanks. 

Customer: “That’s great! What year are you in?”

Me: “I’m a senior.”

Customer: “Almost done, then! How nice. What are you majoring in?”

Me: “Social Work.”

Customer: Awkward glance at spouse. Awkward glance at me. “That’s… nice. I guess you aren’t in it for the money then, huh?”

Me: “Well, you can actually make a nice living-”

Customer: Laughs. “Yeah, sure. Hey can I get some more coffee?”

Every. God. Damn. Time.

What happened to the little group of questions/comments that were considered public knowledge to be inappropriate? “How much do you make a year?” “What size do you wear?” etc., seem to be in the same playing field as “Your future career sucks.” And I would like to know how everyone I come across is an expert on how much a social worker makes. Most people don’t even know what a social worker does let alone how much money they bring home. So, for all of you uninformed people out there, here is a little breakdown so hopefully you aren’t an asshole in the future.

FACT: Social workers are not the people who hand you food stamps. (Not that there is anything wrong with those people.) Social workers direct you to social services, if you need them, but are not the employees of those organizations.

FACT: Social workers do not make teensy, tiny unmanageable salaries. I’m not sure why everyone assumes this, but it is not true and it is annoying.

Compared to the roughly 15k I make as a server... I think I'll manage.

Compared to the roughly 15k I make as a server… I think I’ll manage.

FACT: Not all social workers are employed by child and youth services. This is one area of employment that those with their BSW can explore but it is just one of many!

See? Look at all the possibilities.

See? Look at all the possibilities.

FACT: Not everybody that is on some type of social welfare is “taking advantage of the system”. I’m sure that if you lost your job and had no way of providing for your family, you would not want to be stereotyped either. Yes, there are people who do take advantage; just like there are people who abuse alcohol and drugs, teenagers who lie to their parents and as we’ve seen in recent events, people who misuse guns. Welcome to the world: it is not, nor will it ever be, perfect.

The point is this: it is both rude and ignorant to speak about things you don’t understand. So stop. Doesn’t anyone listen to the age old advice “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” anymore? Sheesh.

P.S: For all of you whom are against social welfare and government assistance, I hope you enjoy spending your tax returns with all those credits for things like: having kids, going to college, buying a house, etc. God, it’s so annoying how you “take advantage of the system” by spending government money! Have you no shame?!

-A

You can pay for college

… But you can’t buy class. Ha ha, see what I did there? Actually I saw that during my internet trolling when I was doing my homework earlier. Whatevs.

So I really was doing homework for one of my FOUR online classes I have this semester (don’t recommend, BTW) and with each passing second I could just feel the life drain out of me. Seriously, I was turning into a full out zombie freak while learning about the indigenous religions of the world. I hate to sound all whiny teenager-y, but come on, when am I ever going to need this stuff? It’s just like back in 10th grade when I asked the teacher when I would ever need to use “invisible numbers” (I still stand by the fact that if I don’t understand the ones that exist, the ones that don’t surely can’t be that important.) The teacher gave me some BS answer about being well-rounded blah blah blah, well guess what, teach.? I promise you I never use math, so HA. Same goes for this religion class, the two classes I’m taking on the internet (seriously) and Spanish 2. It’s pretty annoying that I have to pay approximately 30 THOUSAND dollars for a degree in Social Work and yet 60% of my classes are unrelated to the field, and oh yeah, unnecessary. I really do know how to minimize and maximize web pages and I promise I can figure out how to search something on the big bad internet. Pinky swear. Also, I know that it’s amazing that I have somehow made it through twenty-two years without knowing how to conjugate verbs in Spanish but gosh darn it I managed.

Everyone that works at a college will tell you that it really is important to take all these general classes… but every person with half a brain will tell you they just want more money out of you. This makes me bitter, less likely to care and more likely to complain about it on the internet that THANK GOD I know how to use since I took good ole Internet Concepts 101.

Now how do I post this? I need to go figure out which ancient religion best suits me so I can be a more well-rounded, Spanish-speaking Social Worker.

OMG guys, look! You can save picture for the world wide web and put them other places. Mind, blown.

OMG guys, look! You can save picture for the world wide web and put them other places. Mind, blown.

-A

The Guide to Becoming a Professional Student

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent Googling the terms “MSW Grad School Programs”, “Good Grad Schools” and other variations of the same basic request. I want Google to find me the perfect school; one that offers the program I want, has a reputable career services department and if it could not cost me a million dollars and my first-born child, well that’d be nice, too. After it finds said school, it would be really neat if Google could just apply for me too (and get accepted). Is that so much to ask?!

I spend way too much time looking at this logo. Way.too.much.

Ok but really, I’m spending incredible amounts of time looking for schools and thus far I’ve come up with a mere 2 options. Out of the hundreds of choices I have, I’ve only found TWO that offer everything I want. One is conveniently located in Pittsburgh (except that’s really not convenient- me? driving in the city? Ha!) and the other is in North Carolina. Both offer the joint MSW + JD Law program that I want; the problem is that one is affordable (if you could call any college “affordable”) and one is conveniently located. Naturally, neither are both things and of course, I can’t find anything that is. Sigh. What’s a girl to do?

It’s a lot of effort for something that sadly just leads to four more years of school. I have a feeling that if I ever finish once I’m completely done, I’m not even going to know what do with myself. I guess, ya know, work a “grown-up” job. Get benefits. Help people. It all sounds nice and idealistic but then again, the idea of going to work every day for the rest of well, forever, sounds a bit depressing. I always want to rush school and just be done with it but part of me loves the idea that I’m working towards something. I’m the type of person that needs a countdown, something to look forward to; right now, that’s graduation. After that, it’ll be starting my MSW/Law degrees, then graduation again, then… ??? It’s the unknown part that just generally freaks me out. As much as I want to be done with school; I know how to do it. I’m comfortable there. What happens after I’m finished and I have to start something new? I talk a lot about loving change and experiencing new things but that doesn’t mean the thought of it doesn’t terrify me.

Okay, so some general guidelines:

  1. Switch your major, a lot. Cause there’s nothing like being almost done and completely changing your mind.
  2. Lose interest in classes, fail, and retake them. This is a two-in-one, you get to stay longer AND pay more money! Wait..
  3. Parties. Go to them. Self-explanatory.
  4. Get your BS. Contemplate finding a job. Then don’t. The job market is rough, man.
  5. Grad school. Where all the grown-ups hide. Two more years to try and get your shit together.

I wouldn’t actually follow any of this advice if you want to you know, be productive in life, but if you like the idea of hanging around your college campus forever (think: Ryan Reynolds in Van Wilder) than you’re welcome.

Oh hi shirtless Ryan Reynolds. (Again, you’re welcome.)

Til next time-A

The Miracle Question

Imagine that when you wake up tomorrow, all of the problems that you are experiencing are gone.

Bear with me here.

Often, social workers use what is called the miracle question as a solution-focused approach to solving a client’s problems. When thinking about the miracle question, one must think about what their day would look like. How would they feel if all their problems were gone? More often than not, client’s will begin to say things like “I don’t know” or “I’ve never really thought about it” but with enough prompting, they can usually start to let their minds wander. Maybe they would get along better with their spouse, or maybe they wouldn’t get a single call from a bill collector. Slowly, they can start to piece together the kind of day that they would have if they had the power to simply make it happen. What if it were that easy? What if when you woke up tomorrow, all of the things that are bothering you today were gone? The point of the miracle question is not to make solutions seem unreachable but rather to realize that they exist. There are things that you can do, steps that you can take to work towards whatever goal you wish to achieve.

I think there is a sense of comfort in realizing that though you may be having a problem with something, there is always a way to fix it. Nothing is hopeless.

Pick something specific that is causing you issues, think about the miracle question and then think about the solutions that presented themselves. What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and whatever problem you were having was GONE? What would your day look like?

Til next time-A