What can be more rewarding than finishing up your work, and going home knowing you have made a difference in someone’s life? In today’s society, we have people who need caring and support for them to have quality lives and be healthy people overall. Pursing a social work career is my aspiration and I am enthusiastic to apply to the Master’s Degree in Social Work program at Jackson State University. I have always wanted to be able to make a difference in people’s lives. With social work I know I can do this in a caring and supportive way. I also see it as an opportunity to improve the lives of society’s most vulnerable people by being a voice for them and helping them to build a great life for themselves.
There have been many life experiences that led me to have a desire to want to become a social worker. For example, all of my life my mother has taught me the value of helping others. I grew up in an atmosphere where the needs of others were put before my own. My mom‘s example has truly helped me to understand the importance of helping others. As a direct result of this, I always knew I wanted to be in a career that helps people, especially children. There were times growing up when my mom and I would go volunteer at the Salvation Army to give out and serve food to people who cannot afford food or the homeless. Also, I would try to stay involved in organizations that do things to help the community. Some of the organizations I was a member of led me to be involved in going to the nursing homes to visit the elderly, cleaning up around my community, and helping children with their homework to improve their grades in school. In addition to that, I also did workshops and educated teens about domestic violence with Our House Incorporated. I just loved the experience and wanted to be involved in my community in some type of way and bring a smile to people’s faces. Although my undergraduate degree is in Physical Education and focuses mainly on educating a student about their health, I realized that being a Physical Education major meant that I will only be in one setting which is primarily a school. I wanted to be in a career that is flexible and that is not limited to just one setting. So I began to do my own research in other helping professions and I came across social work. After researching I enrolled in an introduction to social work course and I have learned so much about what social workers do. I learned about how marketable the field of social work is and all the different types of settings a person can work at.
In addition to that within my social work course, I had to go volunteer at an agency in the community. The agency I decided to volunteer at was called Bolivar County Community Action Agency in Cleveland, Mississippi. Bolivar County Community Action Agency provides a variety of services ranging from preschool childcare to a senior companion program; from a transitional and homeless shelter to a Homeless Prevention Rapid Re-housing Program; from an adolescent opportunity program to a general education diploma program; from utility/rental assistance to education assistance. The agency’s mission is to enhance the well-being, economic independence, and growth of low-income individuals and families to become self-sufficient and foster community empowerment and development. I think the agency fulfills its mission by providing opportunities and resources for the clients through services that they offer and by connecting them to other agencies as well. At this agency, I learned that social workers have to be caring, and supportive, and document everything that they do. The reason why I want to attend Jackson State University to pursue my Master of Social Work degree is that I have learned so much about the program and how many people have gone into the program and entered their careers and they tell me they look back at how much Jackson State University has poured greatness into them and molded them into great social workers. Also, another reason why I am applying to Jackson State University is that the Master of Social Work program’s mission, goals, and objectives align with what I am looking to achieve and learn in a program to be a successful social worker.
The reason I am transitioning from Physical Education from the Undergraduate level to get my Master in Social Work is that with my undergraduate degree my goal was to help decrease the obesity rates in Mississippi. I believe that the reason why Mississippi has the highest obesity rate is essential because we are not very wealthy. Many families and their children eat a lot of unhealthy foods because they are cheaper and last longer compared to healthy foods that cost more and do not last very long. I wanted to educate children about their overall health so they can live long healthy lives. However, I wanted to do more than just educate children about their health. I knew that I wanted to make a bigger impact on people’s lives as well as work with other populations and groups of people. When I was researching and came across the profession of Social Work, I looked at how social workers work with children, teens, women, men, and the elderly. There are a lot of roles social workers play and things that they do. Some of the social workers ‘roles include being an advocate, broker, case manager, facilitator, and the list goes on. My career goals for social work are to advocate for children and adults when they are dealing with domestic violence; assist individuals with the resources they need such as childcare and healthcare; identify people who need help, such as vulnerable children, adults, and the elderly; to support those that are living in poverty. In addition to that, I am also interested in working with government assistance and benefits programs such as Medicaid, Social Security Insurance, and food assistance. My overall goal is to empower people so that they can feel stronger and become more successful.
In my junior year in college, I gained experience working with diverse populations when I had a roommate from Pakistan. She asked me if could I join or be a volunteer for the International Students Club on campus. Within this organization, I was responsible for helping international students from different counties to learn English as much as possible before they left America at the end of the semester. In addition to me teaching international students English, I was eager to learn about their different cultures. So the international students shared with me more about their different cultures, their religions, the foods they eat, different dances they perform, and clothes that they wear in their countries. From this experience, I believe that I have the skills that it takes to be a great social worker.
Some personal qualifications that will enable me to practice social work successfully are that between work, school, and even my social life I have to interact with other people from different cultures who have different values than me. It is necessary to be accepting of other cultures and not discriminate against them. I believe everyone deserves to be respected and to be able to share how they feel. This ability is essential in the field of social work because I know I will be working with people who have different values, cultures, and lifestyles. Throughout my life, I have served others by understanding and addressing their needs. I have often been described as a people person and love interacting with others. I feel that my experiences and the skills I have developed will help me to be a great social worker because it is critical that social worker understands and empathizes with their clients. Social workers must be understanding and start from where their client is. By making the client’s goals the most important focuses the social worker is able to help the client to be able to help themselves. Also, social workers must work toward goals themselves even when challenges may come up. This skill is necessary because there will be challenges in the field of social work and I will need to be able to not stress but organize myself to handle the situation.
I will balance outside responsibilities with academic responsibilities by developing great time management skills and having a schedule. With my schedule, I plan on writing down when my assignments are due and begin working on them in advance so I do not get behind. I also plan on setting boundaries for myself on what is important and needs to come first when dealing with my academic and outside responsibilities. I will make connections with my classmates so that if I miss a class they can help me by providing information that I need and form a study group together to study for upcoming tests. Also, I plan on practicing self-care when balancing my outside and academic responsivities so I do not get burned out or stressed. I believe when balancing outside and academic responsibilities self-care will be very important and it is very vital in the Social Work profession. If I do not take care of myself and get proper rest I may not be successful within the program as I need to be therefore getting rest and knowing how to manage my time and go strictly by it will be important. Some of my outside responsibilities may include me working a part-time job to support myself financially while in graduate school, being active in organizations on campus, or being active in my community with my Sorority. My academic responsibilities will include me being a full-time student in the Master of Social Work program, studying for tests,s and turning in all assignments on time. As well as doing my internship within the Social Work Program and any other academic things my professors require of me to do.
Overall, I want to be a social worker that is dedicated and willing to go beyond for a person because I believe everyone deserves to live a happy life. My career goal is to work with underprivileged people from all walks of life and be there to help them with anything that they need. Social work is a field that suits my strengths, interests, and professional approach to working. My greatest desire is to go to Jackson State University to get my Master’s Degree in Social Work and enter the career of my dreams. I believe that Jackson State University is the place for me to be and is a family-oriented institution that will mold me into the best social worker that I can be. I greatly appreciate your consideration for helping me to achieve this goal in advance.