Day One on the Books

I did it. I made it through first the day of school. I made it through the traffic, finding a parking spot, trekking across campus and waiting in a 45 minute line to get my new parking decal, making it back across campus to class on time, and then trekking across campus once more to leave. There was a certain Tolkien-esk quality to the day with all the across campus nonsense, it felt like some epic journey and I felt like a hobbit at the gates of Mordor thanks to the blistering Florida heat!

I did it though and now day one is behind me. Roughly 240 days to go!

My crusade to find parking and cross-campus expedition isn’t really the story from the day though. The story is something I noticed in class. I met up with my BFFAS (best friend forever at school) before class and we were talking about how we both looked online at the roster for our class today and noticed that it was all female. That has not happened once since I started undergrad. There are not many men in the program but there are enough that there has always been at least one or two in every class I have taken. I personally was kind of excited to have a class with all women. I was curious to see how the energy would be. My feminist self had this grand vision of sisterhood and easy relatability right off the bat. Shocker #1, I was being SUPER idealistic. Shocker #2, day one was not sisterhood-y or fem-bonding at all.

The energy was actually kind of tense and uncomfortable. I noticed it right when my friend and I walked in. We were the 4th and 5th people to walk into the classroom. We found seats in the middle of the room towards one side that we were comfortable with and plopped down to enjoy the A/C. As all the other women filed in there was a very clear division between the BSW, now advanced standing MSW clinical students and the Generalist MSW, now MSW clinical students. It felt like a them and us situation. The room was literally divided. All of the previous MSW generalists were on one side and all of the former BSW students who recently graduated were on the other. The whole atmosphere felt off to me.

I noticed it in my two classes over the summer as well but it did not feel as evident as it does in this class so far. I worked with multiple new people who were formerly MSW generalists over the summer and am thankful I had the opportunity because it was great growth for me and new perspectives.

I hate that it feels like a line in drawn in the classroom, the separation feels heavy and deliberate to me. On my drive home I was thinking about what I know about how groups form and how once groups are formed how these groups perceive outsiders. I don’t believe that either side of the room has malicious intentions towards the other side, I just think people are comfortable with what feels (and who feels) familiar and right now we are all choosing to stay in our comfort zones. It is my intention to push myself out of my comfort zone and explore/grow as much as possible in my last two semesters so I am hoping I will have plenty of opportunity in this class to get to know new people, it seems like I will. I hope everyone is as open to learning from one another.

We will see how the semester plays out.

day one1

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6 thoughts on “Day One on the Books

    1. They are terms used at school to distinguish the first year MSW students from the second year MSW students. First year in grad school you do an internship that is focused on case management, second year the internship is clinical/therapeutic. In Florida, and maybe some other states, if you got your undergrad degree in social work you only have to do one year of Grad school in social work (the clinical year) and then you are done. This is because you do a generalist internship during undergrad. Those who have to do two years of Social work grad school did a different major for undergrad like psychology or sociology for example.

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      1. Ah, that makes sense now and I can see how there might be a divide between the two, although it’s sad that there is. I’m interested in reading about your MSW pursuit because when I have my life more together (maybe as a second career?) I might pursue becoming a therapist. We’ll see. I’ve found in my limited experience in the social services that I LOVE it but find it emotionally unsettling. Probably because I had my own untreated mental health issues (that I am now getting treatment for). 😀

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      2. What I can tell you, hopefully as a validation, is that in my experience people do not choose social work on accident. You are called to this field because something has happened to you in your life that puts you on this path. Many of my colleagues, and of course my self included, are in therapy themselves and doing their work so they can better help others/clients. The pieces of ourselves that may make us feel the most unlovable are the very same pieces that guide us to the path we are meant to walk. I would be happy to talk with you more about social work/clinical stuff/therapy if you ever want.

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  1. I love your perspective on this. Do you ever have people say to you that they worry that other people’s problems will drag you down because of your own? The reason I bring that up is that it gives me pause if others are saying that I’m too sensitive to do that kind of work. I don’t know if they are saying it as some sort of special insight based off what they know about me or if they are projecting their own lack of desire to deal with people with “problems.”

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  2. That is a great question, and certainly something to be mindful of. Here is my truth and experience..
    One, I am very sensitive. I am a “cry while watching the news/a movie/listening to a song” kind of person. I feel my emotions. This is part of what makes me great as a social worker AND it makes me very mindful of keeping a balance. Self-care (therapy, downtime, BOUNDARIES) are what make me, as an emotionally sensitive being, able to do this work that can at times be completely emotionally overwhelming.
    As far as other people being concerned for me, I am the expert on my life, I do not seek out a lot of outside input. If I am going to listen to someone’s opinion though it is my husband because he only speaks up when it is a pretty big concern. You have to know who your people are that are going to support you first, those are the ones you listen to.

    Going back to school to get my social work degree was a huge leap of faith. I was already well on my way to having a successful career in healthcare and decided to make a sharp left turn and flip my life upside for a few years while I do this. It was a scary decision to make, leaps of faith are often really scary, but it was the right one 100%.

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