It’s the second day of reflection before Yom Kippur, and that means answering the 2nd question. How would you answer this?
Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you’re especially proud of from this past year?
I am really proud of myself for going back to school and completing the first year of the Masters of Social Work program. It took several years for me to find the courage to quit my job and pursue a new career, and I believe that it has been the best decision.
It has not been easy. I have always been good at school work. I do not suffer from test anxiety, so school has come easy for me in the past. My goal when starting school this time was to enjoy the experience and learn as much as possible — grades and performance would be last on the list of my priorities. I have been able to stick to this goal and philosophy of school.
What has been hard has been the immersion into social work. Social work is about social justice; it is about enhancing the life of others. In the preamble to our code of ethics, our mission reads “The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty.” Since I have been in school, I have been exposed to so many cases where people are lacking basic human needs, like shelter and food, and I have met and worked with so many vulnerable and oppressed individuals, like those with mental illnesses, the homeless, the elderly, minorities, and those in abusive situations.
That is what has been hard. I have been blessed in my life with a loving and giving family and friend support system, food and shelter, access to education, a family environment that encouraged education and encouraged me to be successful, good medical care, etc., etc. The exposure to those who have only a few or none of these is eye-opening and heart-hurting.
And I have asked myself several times if I have the emotional stability to be in this profession.
This is why it has been hard.
But I love it and am proud to be pursuing this career.