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Getting ready.

On Monday, May 14, I will join my cohort in our commencement ceremony as we graduate from our Master’s of Social Work program. For the last six weeks, I’ve hardly been able to absorb what this means for me. Actually, it’s part of the reason that I haven’t been writing. So much has been going on in my little skull that I can’t seem to pull one thought away from another.

While I’m primarily ecstatic to finish my degree, a large part of me is apprehensive about what comes next. I have to pass an exam to become a licensed social worker. I need to find a new apartment. I’m going to Cuba for the month of June and have about two and half weeks to get ready. Oh, and I also need to find a job.

Looking for work is the part of graduating that makes me the most anxious. Several of my classmates have found work and others are going on interviews left and right. Although this should encourage me since my classmates’ opportunities indicate that students coming from our program are appealing to employers, I do get taken over by unproductive thoughts that make me doubt my competence as a social worker. Last night, however, I had one small interaction that made me feel like things could be OK.

Last night, my school had an alumni event. I went with some friends, hoping to make some professional connections and take advantage of one of our last opportunities to get free food. About an hour or so into the event, I saw my supervisor from my internship last year. We were equally excited to see each other, as we developed both really wonderful working and personal relationships with each other last year. For the first time, I got to meet her husband. Like my supervisor, he was warm, caring, and unabashedly enthusiastic about learning. He asked me some questions about my experience at Penn, and my former supervisor chimed in that she thought I was a very creative student. After talking some more,  her husband remarked that I reminded him of his wife when she first graduated. This meant the world to me.

My former supervisor is my #1 social work hero. At all times, she fiercely advocates for her clients’ best interest. After 30 years in the field, she remains intensely passionate about her profession and stands committed to furthering her education. She loves solving the seemingly impossible cases. Whenever she receives praise for her hard work, she turns bashful and modest. She’s strong in her beliefs, but loves a learning opportunity, even if it means finding she was wrong. She’s only about 5 feet tall, but man, is she a pistol.

So last night, when she said she thought I was creative and her husband saw something in me that reminded him of his wife, I couldn’t help but feel a lift in confidence. I know I have much more to learn. Yet my former supervisor’s husband made me a little stunned (in a good way) when he said, “You know, it won’t be long before you’ll become someone’s mentor.” I know that’s still a long time coming, but I can’t wait for the process.

Categories: social work Tags: , ,
  1. Miles
    May 12, 2012 at 21:35

    Awesome! You know – if french toast had been mentioned in the next to last paragraph, I’d have assumed the woman being described was you. Cuba doesn’t know how lucky they are to have you for a month. But I have a feeling everyone you come in contact with in your professional career will!

    • May 15, 2012 at 16:09

      Thank you so much, Miles! Hearts to you and Gracy!

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