Congratulations to the GCSW Graduating Class of 2012! Here our graduating Student Ambassadors share their reflections on their experience and post-graduation plans.
By the time graduation arrived, I must admit that I was exhausted. Having spent the week after finals out of town wedding planning and returning immediately to take the licensure exam, my last week was crammed with studying and communicating with coordinators. To prepare for the licensure exam, I took the free course offered by the GCSW and participated in a review group led by Professor Reibenstein. Although I passed most of the practice tests I completed, the few failures increased my anxiety about the test. What if the test generated consisted primarily of macro questions or covered areas I had skipped over entirely? Surprisingly, I found the actual exam to be easier than some of the practice tests and passed after spending only 3 of the 4 hours allowed. Usually the last person in a classroom to finish a test, I had also worried that I would run out of time. All in all, I wished that I had invested less energy worrying about the exam.
Scanning the auditorium at the graduation ceremony, I was struck by how truly fortunate I was… fortunate for a family that could not be more generous with their time or love, for classmates (or colleagues) with diverse views and backgrounds who encouraged me to think about important issues, for staff and faculty that truly cared about students, for a program that trained me to help people to the best of my ability, and for the laughter, self-reflection, and lessons along the way. I will move to New Orleans in about a month and only just began the job search. I hope to find a job in a non-profit agency that provides outpatient therapy for adults or adolescents. I would like to focus on a specific presenting problem to increase my competence in one area. Regardless of where I find myself for my first job, I am confident that I have a strong foundation from which to build. Thank you GCSW faculty, staff, graduates, and current students, and best of luck to you!
Jaime completed the Clinical Practice Concentration and specialized in Social Work Practice with Latinos. He plans to work in a community clinical setting providing therapy to adolescents and adults.
Deysi Crespo, MSW
Two years ago around this time I was excited because I had finally reached my goal in obtaining my Bachelors in Social Work. At the same time, more exciting was the day when I received my letter of acceptance into the MSW program at UH. The excitement increased even more when I received a phone call telling me I was the recipient of a scholarship. As an Advanced Standing student, my mission was to finish grad school in only a year and a half. Without taking a break between undergrad and graduate school, my first day at the GCSW was all SMILES. I felt like I had found my new home, especially when I found out about different student organizations I could be a part of. I did just that! I became a member and officer of the Hispanic Student Association, which allowed me to strengthen my skills as leader and team player. My concentration was Clinical Practice; nevertheless, for all the ones who know me, it has been acclaimed that I am Macro at heart – that I have a natural ability to lead, to mobilize and initiate change through collaborative efforts. I finally believe all those acclamations, especially after being recruited during my last year in graduate school to become a Director at a Crisis Center, a non-profit organization. Many colleagues, friends, and family often questioned, “How do you do handle school, family, work and everything else in between?” My answer is quite simple:stay up at nights to do homework and lean on my strong support systems.
As I was approaching my last semester of grad school, during an internship at Davis High School through Communities in Schools, an amazing opportunity came along to participate in the Child Trauma Project. So I extended my graduation plan. Who would do this if there was no need? Well, I guess only me. Yes, call me crazy, but I had a plan for my future and growth in the profession. I proudly became a Trauma Fellow! I am immensely thankful to my field placement, Children’s Advocacy Center of Fort Bend, especially my Field Instructor, Karen Sullivan, who took me under her wings. I was able to apply the new skills developed in grad school such as conceptualization, apply a transtheoretical approach, and multicultural practice; all with a strong emphasis on Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy for children and adolescents.
I want to thank all of my professors and the staff behind the scenes. Thank you for your guidance and support throughout these two adventurous years. I will miss everyone! For now, I will continue working as a Crisis Center Director, work towards becoming a licensed clinician and continue promoting social justice. Recently, I was nominated and appointed as one of the newest members of the UH-Clear Lake BSW Advisory Board, which I gladly accepted – all with a SMILE! I am ready to embark on new opportunities!
Chloe completed the dual MSW/JD program and plans to practice family law in Houston after taking the Texas Bar Exam in July.
Excerpted here is a portion of Melanie’s post on her graduate school experience:
“The moment I was accepted to the GCSW, I thought it would take everything I had: all of my time, my attention, my energy, and my money would be set aside for this last chapter of school. Every last sliver of sanity was labeled, ‘GCSW.’
Obviously, this was a plan with many gaps.
I’ve learned that just because one part of life may be placed as a high priority, it doesn’t mean achieving this one goal should replace other important parts of life in the process.”
Her complete post will be posted soon!
Melanie completed the Macro Practice Concentration. After graduation, Melanie will be a contract writer for Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Melanie would like to gain more experience working in the nonprofit sector in program management and/or advocacy, and she aspires to develop a social enterprise dedicated to providing employment and resources for homeless young adults in the near future.
Kim completed the Macro Practice Concentration and specialized in Political Social Work. She plans to establish and operationalize programs that will empower individuals and communities as well as advocate for the needs of people through policy.