In her words....
When you make the decision to go to college, it is life change. I started out with basically Associates in a little bit of everything all the way to my master's degree in Social Work.
I realized that the world needed more people to help out in regular day-to-day Society. Nothing is as valuable as a good counselor or even a good listener. That is what social work taught me so far and also to really question motives of people sometimes. It makes you very enlightened this type of work. What is even crazier is when I started. I started college at 35. It was after a life altering event. I had a relationship go the worst possible way wrong and went to counseling. The counselor told me to take life by the bootstraps and do something productive in my life beside being a mom. I started a 2 year college and did great. After graduating I drove two hours to Albany College and got an apartment to go to classes half the week. I had some career guidance and once I realized what I wanted to do it was a lot less stressful. I graduated from there and went to Binghamton University for my Masters Degree.
Struggles I Had
I struggled greatly with school at first. Most college graduates do. Mathematics and Geology were a real problem as well as traveling back and forth to Binghamton. These classes and homework constantly all affected my mental state being away from my dogs and kids. It was hard to figure out how to get a job after college. I graduated with a Masters Degree. It was tough because I had two girls who graduating school and college at this time.
My first job as a registered social worker was at a county drug and alcohol clinic. I had to assess patients for different things. I got lucky after many applications were turned in. I was rejected at most tries at first and it's to be expected at the Masters level, there's a lot of career planning. You should be interning in your field of of study as this will help you greatly when it comes to finding a job. Some of my job duties were-
● Analyzing people to see if they were drug addicts or not.
● Making recommendations to parole, probation and other law enforcement agencies on how a client was doing.
● Giving drug tests to clients
Things that I struggled with at first was my innocent mind and not being able to tell who was lying to me or not. It is very hard to tell if a drug addict or alcoholic is still using. That took a little bit of time to get used to, to be able to tell who is lying to me and who is not. Drug tests are very expensive so you don't want to have to use them every single session. You want to be able to be doing a good enough job that they don't want to drink or do drugs after a therapy session. They also have other things they need to be doing outside of drug and alcohol counseling like going to 12 step meetings. This is the biggest chance for success a dual program for alcohol and mentally unstable individuals. Not all drug addicts have mental illness though, but it's commonly something that goes hand-in-hand. The best thing that needs to happen is encouraging them to go and do things that they enjoy. You want them to do things that they can have some sort of mastery yet. Each day you should do some kind of mastery of a skill and work on it like kayaking, tennis, golfing, hiking, or whatever makes you happy each day and feel successful.
Next Big Break
My next career was a psychiatric center. It was a very old building that was housing four units and they only had me as a social worker around. This is for people who are coming out of the hospital but can't go home they have to get more treatment, murderers who pleaded insanity we're also constantly in there. That is something that I had to worry about when being alone with one of them. The strange thing is that some of the murderers were some of my best patients and weren't the type of people you thought they would be. I thought that anybody that killed somebody was a horrible human being until I met at least 10 of them and every human being is different. This job taught me compassion for those who have hard roads ahead of them. I would say that this job helped me in ways because I was dealing with dual diagnosis. What this is is a drug addict and somebody that has a mental health issue. It's very hard to distinguish from the two if someone is more drug addict and that's what's wrong, or they have a mental illness. I learned that you had to patiently wait to find out with people who they really are.
Where I work Now
For a little while I work two jobs, I was working long hours at the psychiatric center, and also working at a hospital pain clinic. The hours were ridiculously long. I had to get to the psychiatric hospital by 7 a.m. each day to make sure I could get my shift done so I can work my night shift. I have a lot of debt for my college loans that I have to pay off. I also had two daughters who were not quite grown up at all and the constantly needing funds by now my kids were in their thirties and still not able to handle Life On Life's terms completely on their own without my without my assistance and something that didn't help me with some of the classes that I had to take to get a college degree. The geology class didn't help me with my career and you want to find classes that stimulate growth inside you too focus on what your career is going to be. What i found to be useless knowledge was some of the math and science classes were hard and haven't applied It to my jobs. I also learned those tough classes that have nothing to do with work, showed me i could do anything that I sent my heart to even if I dislike the class or I found that the teacher was pushing me too hard. There is times where you will get a teacher that really pushes you. You think that they're doing it because they're mean. No that is not the reason at all you want tough professors who push you to be all you can be. You will find a few of them during your college career. They are the ones that you are the most frightened of and you will know it when you see one. Respect them and see what you can learn from somebody that really cares.