I’ve always wanted to write about why I want to be a social worker but I’ve always put it off because I don’t exactly have a list of reasons. I’ve only taken two social work classes, after all. I’m going to attempt to explain myself, today, because you would not believe the reactions I get to my wanting to be a social worker. I decided I should start keeping a journal of reactions. The most common response is why?. People don’t get it. I’m not even sure I get it. But I’ll try to put it into words.
The only school subjects that have ever interested me in a way that comes one-hundred percent naturally to me are social sciences. Psychology, sociology, (not history), and obviously social work. So I came into college leaning towards a psychology major. One day, in my undecided exploratory class (because I’m a bad decision maker especially when it comes to the rest of my life !!!) a lady from the social work department came in. The way she described it intrigued me. I had never thought about social work. I don’t even think I knew it was an option. The only way I could figure out how to describe it is the perfect blend of everything I love about psychology and sociology.
I’m not the most outgoing of people. I was “shy” for a long time. But I’ve never liked to be alone (except before coffee). I like people. I like to be around people. I like forming relationships with people. I like to give advice to people. I’ve known for a long time that helping people in my career was a must. I considered teacher. I considered nurse (I quickly disregarded that one when I passed out getting my finger pricked). The thing about social work is it’s not just a helping profession in the way nursing and psychology is. A doctor and a psychologist care less about the patient and more about the immediate needs of the patient (not a bad thing, just the truth). A social worker takes a patient and depending on the situation, he/she will probably meet the immediate need but he/she will continue to work with the patient until all possible future needs are dealt with. Yes, a doctor’s appointment is necessary but it goes beyond that. How is the patient getting there? How will he or she get the prescription filled? Is there someone who can check up on him or her? I absolutely adore that aspect of social work. We go beyond the surface to really help people.
This leads to the challenging part of the profession. It’s a challenge to think of a solution to every possible problem that may occur. In my most recent class, we did a ton of case studies. A peer would shout out a solution that literally had never crossed my mind. That’s discouraging but so exciting that my profession will constantly challenge me. How can I get bored when I’m always challenged by a new situation?
Two reactions that I commonly get in some variation or another… usually they lean towards the rude side but I’ll give the brief versions. But you’ll be poor! and Wow, that’s hard work! Yes. I will most likely be poor (because the government doesn’t understand how much they need social workers). And yes. There is quite a large chance I’ll get burnt out. Thankfully, I go to a great school that gives me the opportunity to get my Master’s Degree (which should higher my pay) and I have great teachers who teach self-care. I truly don’t care about money and as long as I take care of myself and rely on God to get me through the tough situations, I’ll be guarded against burnout.
I get more and more excited the closer I get to being a social worker. I cannot wait to do this everyday.
And no, I don’t know exactly what part of social work I want to do yet. Don’t ask. 😉