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Social Work

What is your best piece of advice for those going beginning their Master's in Social Work? #grad-school #graduate-school #masters #social-work

I've applied to Walla Walla University but I live in MT where they have an outreach school. I did a search for Master of Social Work universities and it pulled up several universities. I hope this helps. Kristi L.

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Sema’s Answer

Know that becoming a social worker means you must know how to advocate for yourself before you can advocate for others. That you must learn to deal with all your own hang ups and lay out all those skeletons in your closet on the table and deal with them one by one. Be open to a process of self awareness and self reflection, because to help others means that you must be strong yourself. Social work IS NOT FOR EVERYONE, because it's heavy on the heart and emotionally draining, but if you were meant to be social worker the world will need your strong heart and you will learn how to recharge from the emotional drainage.

A masters in social work isn't about grades and how well you do on an exam or paper, but how well you can self reflect and be true to the process of understanding the condition of others without judgement, prejudice or malice. It's about being sensitive to all the injustices out there and realizing that the perpetrator is almost always a victim. Social work is HARD if you want to do a good job and be a good social worker. If at any point in your masters program you feel like this isn't the line of work for you, get out immediately because your gut will tell you if social work is right for you, and as I've already mentioned its not for everyone and that's ok. Good luck.

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Angela’s Answer

Hi Caroline:

Enjoy the experience and get out of your comfort zone. My area of expertise and experience when I entered my Masters of Social Work program was youth and families. In retrospect, I should have taken more classes outside of my area to get a more well rounded education and knowledge base. If you can, get your internship experiences in very different areas of focus - older adults, addition, community organizing, LGBTQ, child welfare, etc. I also learned as much if not more from other students in my graduate classes than the one professor in each class so take full advantage of getting to know your peers and pick their brains. Many of them had tons of work experience already before entering graduate school and had relationships with organizations or agencies that were hiring so they can definitely assist with employment opportunities when you are ready to look for work.

Hope this helps,


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Susan’s Answer

The experience you get through internships is invaluable. Secure an internship which is supervised by an experienced, well seasoned, licensed at the highest level, Social Worker, (7- 10 years of experience) who has been a supervisor for at least 3-4 years . Having at least one internship at a hospital, clinical, or psychiatric facility provides experience which is very valuable in honing your clinical skills of psychosocial assessment and treatment planning. Good Luck!