Although I have always known that I wanted to go into the field of social work, it seems like my choice in concentration within the field changes on a weekly basis. Coming into graduate school, my ultimate goal was to run my own non-profit that brings service-learning into the schools and into after school programming, specifically targeting high-risk populations of youth. During my first quarter of school I constantly went back and forth between the clinical and community track. I am passionate about working with high-risk youth so part of me wanted to focus on the clinical high-risk youth track, but another part of me wanted to learn the skills I would in the community track because they would be extremely beneficial to my ultimate career goals. By the end of my first quarter, I had settled on the clinical track because I want to have a clinical internship (specifically school social work) next year and not a community internship.
Throughout this whole decision process, I had also been considering participating in the animal-assisted therapy certificate. This past week, GSSW provided information sessions on the different certificates so I decided to attend the animal-assisted session. Even though I thought it was definitely something I wanted to do, I found that I was in it for the wrong reasons. I think that involving animals in therapeutic programs is a really interesting concept. The classes required for the certificate are very focused on the science behind animal-assisted therapy and it just isn’t something I’m interested in learning about.
I have been working with a family at my internship this year that has dealt with a lot of trauma and it has become a passion of mine, so I also decided to attend the information session on the interpersonal trauma certificate. After listening to the director of the program talk about the certificate, I immediately knew it was something I wanted to do. In order to complete the certificate, your second year field placement needs to be focused on working with clients who have experienced some kind of trauma. I have decided that I really want to try out school social work next year and, luckily, it looks like there are plenty of school sites that offer trauma related social work internships. So, I decided that when I grow up, I want to be a school social worker focusing on interpersonal trauma!
To all of you who are still undecided about what you want to concentrate your studies on, please don’t worry about it!! Your first year at GSSW is all about figuring out who you are and what you are passionate about, so enjoy every second of it and take advantage of all of the learning opportunities you can. I promise you will figure it out (even if it changes every week for your entire first year)!!