Day 13: Something or someone that has had a huge impact on my life
Without a doubt, that something would be an entity, a group of people I suppose, or I guess you could just say the profession, social work.
For a long time, I didn't know what I was doing. When I started college, and for a long time before, I had no idea where I was going with my life. I had a lot of troubles, which I really won't go into, and I kind of floated around trying to find my place. It didn't really work all that well for me, and I didn't ever find anything that really suited me that well. I wasn't happy with it, and, truth be told, a lot of things leading up to my "epiphany," if you will, probably made things worse.
In late 2006, I decided I was going to go the psychology route at the university, since that had been one of my favorite freshman classes. I had already taken a lot of the prerequisite courses, but in order to take higher level courses as a psychology major, I had to take a Research, Design, and Statistics course, part one and two. I took the first part, and kicked ass in the course, but my other courses suffered.
During the second part, in early 2007, I started having a lot of problems, and my grade reflected that. I had a (unavoidable) stint away from classes, which forced a lot of my grades down, including Research, Design, and Stats II. I never really liked the stats part anyway, but I was doing it because psychology was what I wanted.
After a rough semester, I pretty much stumbled my way to failure, and, when it all came to a close, we had to do some work to get things set straight. When I went to the academic advisor about the fall term, we had a talk about what went right and wrong, and I told her about what I liked and what I didn't. She then advised me, surprisingly, to go to the social work advisor and see if I liked the course of study there. They did a referral...what? I didn't know. I was stunned.
I did it. I took the intro course that fall, and I was stoked. I made my first A in a very long time. Things started to pick up for me. I felt a little better. I took more courses, and continued to make As in them. Not only was it giving me a higher GPA, which I so desperately needed, but it was boosting my self esteem, because I found something I was actually capable of doing well, learning, and succeeding, as well as something that would end up being my major.
I learned a lot of things about myself through social work, and a lot about coping skills, and through learning how to help other people, I also learned things I could do to help myself! *not a part of the degree plan, but definitely a positive side effect*
In the fall of 2009, I officially sent in the letter of application to declare a major in social work, and was accepted! For someone who, not too long before, had no idea where they were going, this was a huge step. Not only that, but I was making huge life changes. My attitude and functioning overall were drastically changed. People who take a look at my transcript, they can tell you that there's a major difference in my grades, a major transformation and improvement.
I look at the world differently. I look at myself differently. I have better coping, studying, self-awareness, communication, presentation, writing, and many other skills. Had it not been for social work, and that psychology advisor that told me I should check it out, I may not be finished with school yet. I may have still been fishing around. I may not have the knowledge and skills I've acquired by default from the classes I've taken. Self-regulation would be different. My attitude and communication would be different. I might not feel as capable because I wouldn't have the degree. I wouldn't have had the experience that my internship gave me, including the harsh lessons that I eventually learned...although harsh, they were, nevertheless, lessons learned.
Social work, as a whole, has had such a huge effect on my life that I just can't emphasize it enough. Even though I don't have a job, it does teach a lot of skills that can be applied anywhere, skills that you might not learn other places. The degree and the field is so versatile and has so many applications, and the scope of study so wide, that you learn so much. I love it. I hated some of the classes (note: very few, mostly those dealing with research and statistics...actually, just research and statistics), but in them, I learned a lot more than I thought I could.
Now, it will be a part of the rest of my life, as I wait for my license and a job. I want to go to grad school, too, for my masters' degree. In 2007, I never would have seen myself in graduate school. Now it's just something that I'm waiting for funds in order to achieve it. My job? It will be in social work. Yes, social work is a major part of my life.
So, has it had a huge impact on my life? Absolutely, and it will continue to do so. Thank you, social work, for showing me so many things I never knew, and for leading me through university and to a career that I'll enjoy.