As I end my first year of the Seattle University MSW program, I can’t help but feel sappy and reflective. This school year has gone by so fast and so very slow all at the same time, but here I am halfway to getting my master’s degree. As a first-generation college student and the first in my immediate family to work toward a graduate degree, my child self would have never imagined getting here. So, let’s go over the good, the bad, and the not-so-ugly of my generalist year.
My favorite part of this program has been my practicum experience. I was placed at the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) in the SAGE program where I was able to work with individuals experiencing homelessness and housing instability. This placement, my Practicum Instructor, and my clients have taught me more than I could ever learn in a classroom— which is the point of a practicum. I worked with a diverse little caseload where I was able put advocacy, relationship-building, and client self-determination at the forefront of my practice. As I say my goodbyes to my clients, I know that I will continue thinking of them and learning from this experience even after I have moved on.
Although I am reflective and sappy about this year coming to an end, it’s important to note that it hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies. When I applied to the Seattle University MSW program, I can remember there being some warnings in the application process stating that this program is rigorous; this was not the exaggeration I thought it was. After 16 hours a week at practicum, anywhere from 9 to 12 hours a week in classes, and countless hours on homework— I was left feeling like the life had been sucked out of me.
The Not So Ugly
Taking all of these classes over Zoom has not been easy, I am a person who would always opt for in-person classes if given the choice. Even as I struggle to adjust to these virtual classes, I know I have finally found the right career choice for me. As I was working at my practicum, some days I would stop and just realize that this is the first time I have ever enjoyed working. Other times I would be reading or writing a paper and I would notice that I actually enjoyed the topic I was learning about— I know, what a crazy concept. Overall, this year has been eye opening in so many ways and I can’t wait to see what my specialized year has in store for me.