I mentioned recently how I have been having to say No to leadership roles as well as even bigger opportunities that have come up in order to keep my balance. Well two amazing opportunities just came up that I am saying yes to!
This weekend was the NASW Florida Chapter Conference. It was the first conference I have ever attended and it was so worthwhile. I volunteered which meant that at two of the workshops I attended I helped the presenter with any odds and ends they needed help with as well as introducing the presenter at the beginning by reading their bio. I went to a total of four workshops, all related to end-of-life issues as that is my area of interest. Three were very informative and there was plenty of new information for me, one was more of a review but that is okay too.
On the first day of the conference my professor, who is the BSW director, and I were talking. She asked again if I would reconsider running for NASW student representative for Florida. I told her that I wish I could but that I really felt like I would be spreading myself too thin between everything I am involved in at school, outside of school and my internship coming up next spring. She understood but seemed a bit desperate to get the position filled. Later in the day she asked my brother who was also volunteering at the conference. He declined for the same reasons, a busy schedule. My brother and I started talking and agreed that we knew the perfect person though. My friend/classmate, who I am doing the community assessment with, is exactly the kind of person the NASW would want. She is a natural leader who leads from within not from above, if that makes sense, she has strong character and is compassionate while remaining objective. I spoke with her Saturday briefly to see if she would be interested in the position, she is, and then emailed the director Sunday to connect those two together and get the ball rolling for my friend.
I hope this works out for her, she really will do so well I just know it. I am so glad to be apart of helping someone else succeed as well. I appreciate that certain professors in the program think of me when leadership positions come up but I think these opportunities should be spread around. I am so excited for my friend and cannot wait to see how this all plays out for her.
While I am celebrating this possible win for my friend, I am also having a silent celebration for myself as well. That first day of the conference when the director was asking me about the NASW leadership position again she also mentioned another opportunity. It is a scholarship program that trains BSW and MSW students who plan to take a job in the field of healthcare after graduation. This program is very relevant for me. Any extra training I can get for the field of healthcare I will take. She sent me the information about it yesterday and it sounds so exciting. I have to sign a commitment letter stating that I will work in the healthcare field post graduation which is no problem because that was always the plan. My internship has to take place at medical facility, that was also always the plan because of my minor. I have to write a personal statement, no problem. Possibly the most exciting requirement though, I have to agree to attend a conference in the fall that (get this) is being held in Washington D.C. They will give me a travel stipend and I have already spoken to Todd, he has agreed to come with me if I am accepted into this program.
To side track for just a moment, the D.C. trip actually concerned me at first. I was concerned for the same reason I did not agree to the NASW position, scheduling. Todd and I are already taking 3 trips this fall (August-November), almost a trip a month. Granted these are primarily weekend trips, with the exception of our Chicago trip in November, but to add a fourth trip into what is sure to be an already busy semester..? I wasn’t sure about that. We talked about it though and agreed that I cannot pass up this opportunity and that we will make it work. Financially we will be okay, especially since I will have a stipend so Todd only has to pay for his flight and food etc, not mine. And as far as school work it is only three weekends in the semester I will be gone, I will just have to work ahead on my school work if necessary, I can do that, I do that already anyway.
So this morning I will be filling out the application and this week I will work on my personal statement. Apparently the interviews for the program, yes I have to interview, will be held in the middle of July. I will update as things progress.
Yesterday while emailing with the director I found that I had an email from another director, the main director, or as I have been calling her The Queen of Everything in the Social Work Program. My friend and I met with her two weeks ago to discuss the work we had done and are continuing to do in the community. The meeting went so well, better than expected, although in truth we were not sure what to expect. Apparently I made an impression because she emailed me inviting me to be apart of the School of Social Work Community Advisory Council. Without hesitation I emailed back thanking her and accepting her invitation. The meeting is this Wednesday and now that I will be on the council there will be meetings once a semester it sounds like. This another time where I do not really know what to expect but I do know that there are community leaders on this council as well. I believe she asked me because she knows I am involved in a few different community outreach projects right now. My hope is that this will be a place where I can share the information my friend and I have about the community we are assessing right now to bring awareness to the needs of the community. Either way this is another opportunity I could not say No to. The time commitment is minimal and it fits into my schedule plus this grants me access to people I may not have otherwise ever had an opportunity to meet. I am ecstatic.
After all these emails last night I went and sat with Todd on the couch and thanked him. I would not be where I am right now if it was not for his encouragement, validation and support. I have changed from someone who leads with fear when presented with new challenges to someone who jumps right in excited to get started. I am so thankful to have a partner who is just that, my partner. I am the one doing the work now but he was my courage when I had none back at the beginning of this journey.