Without a doubt, there is a resonating theme about the first year. Where did it go? It seems as though it was yesterday that I was making plans to move to Houston, attending foundation days and completing foundation semester. Here I am at the end of year one and what a great ride! The GCSW has proven that you can be as involved or uninvolved as you want.
Being an ambassador has been an extremely positive experience. It excites me to talk to others regarding their pursuit for graduate school. One of my passions has been to promote education and this program allows me the opportunity to achieve that goal. The program not only allows me to meet some great students from various parts of the U.S. but also create new connections with fellow ambassadors.
Becoming involved with research through the GCSW is another added benefit. Many professors are more than willing to allow you to develop your goals to explore research. I have been fortunate to volunteer with Dr. Parrish’s GEAR youth anxiety study this semester and found the knowledge valuable as I think forward in my own research goals.
Choosing to become a member of the Policy Insiders Advisory Committee has been instrumental in building my knowledge and desire for more macro in my life. Making the connection between policy and practice is essential for my development as a social worker. Struggling for the majority of the first year over my clinical concentration vs. macro, it allowed me to have the macro side I felt I was going to miss. It has also been an asset in developing relationships with community partners and understanding the various opportunities for social workers.
Many of you reading this blog are on your way to the GCSW! In so very many ways, I don’t think you will be disappointed with your decision. If I could encourage you in any way, it would be to build relationships with your cohort members. They will be instrumental in celebrating the highs but dealing with the lows. Also, get involved. It might sound overwhelming to engage in outside activities; however, I truly believe it will make your GCSW experience richer.
On one last note: take the Self-Care portion of your foundation semester seriously. I developed what I thought was a realistic self-care plan. I found each week presented challenges to sanity and physical health. I had to tweak it on a weekly basis to fit the schedule. Give yourself permission to take time for what you love and nurture you!