End of year thoughts

Today is my final day of classes. While I won’t have any classes again until Fall, I am starting my second year internship in the middle of June (35 hours a week), so I won’t really have too much of a break. However, by beginning my field placement early, I can delve much deeper into the placement, much earlier, than I would if I began in Sept. Further, a new geripsych program is being initiated at the hospital I will be interning at (St. Joseph’s), this summer, and by being able to  devote a larger  chunk of hours to the internship, I will have more time to dedicate to developing interesting clinical projects, while being unencumbered by classes/papers/studying.

I think one of the strengths of the social work program at DU is the flexibility to mold your experience based upon your needs. Just today I spoke with a prospective student who was surprised to hear at DU the student can interview with  multiple field placements as a means of sizing up “goodness of fit” between you and the placement/supervisor. A number of social work programs don’t allow students to interview at potential agencies. Further, I really appreciate having the option to begin the internship during summer. As a non-traditional student (husband/parent), this flexibility is much welcomed.


Like any other big city, Denver has a really strong music business with small bands playing everywhere and great radio stations.  One of my personal favorites, 92.5 The Wolf country music, puts on concerts every year including a huge 4-day country smash this summer with greats like Alan Jackson and Clint Black!  They make it affordable too, right now they have a deal on their websites for a full 4-day pass at half price (get on it quick if you’re interested!!!).

They also have great concerts, like their amazing “iPad a Day Give-Away in May”, which yours truly….WON ON WEDNESDAY!  I also won tickets to the local amusement park, Elitch Gardens, and I can’t wait to use both!  Living in Denver has great benefits, awesome concerts AND awesome contests!!!

Half Way There!

I’m officially one half of an MSW!  As finals week come to a close and summer arrives, I have began to reflect on my GSSW experience so far.  Although I have learned a lot of facts and details about social work history, theories, policies, and research, this hasn’t been the most important part of my education.  I learned the most about myself and about “real” social work through my experiences at my internship.  I could probably go on for pages and pages discussing all of the valuable skills that I have developed, but I will stick to the most important…

  • I learned the importance of balancing my life and making sure there was enough “me” time in there.  I am the kind of person who enjoys having a lot on my plate–when I have any kind of down time, I get bored.  However, I learned how important self-care is and that I need to make time to just relax so I don’t get burnt out too quickly.
  • The concept of “person-in-environment” was re-enforced daily at my internship.  Basically, it is important to understand everything that is going on in your client’s life in order to treat his or her behaviors accordingly.  Often times, a behavior has nothing to do with the specific situation, but may have everything to do with an issue the client deals with at home or in school.
  • I have also learned how to process my feelings better–at my internship I learned a lot about examining why certain children’s behaviors triggered me in certain ways.  This has been an area of personal growth that will make me a better social worker.

Overall, I realize that my thought process has changed over the course of this year–I feel like I am truly starting to “think like a social worker.”  Although I have learned a lot, I know I will learn even more during my second year.  I am looking forward to next year’s classes as they are much more focused on a subject matter that I am passionate about (high-risk youth) and I can’t wait to start my new internship in the fall!

I wish you all the best of luck and hope you have a fabulous summer!!

Until next year,


Summer Plans

I’m preparing to take my last final in just a few hours and could not be more excited!  I will be heading out afterwards to celebrate with friends and enjoy the first day of summer vacation.

The summer will prove not to be much of a vacation after all.  I’ll be nannying full-time for 3 kids, 10 and twin 6-year-olds.   In addition, I’ll be working 12 hours as a part-time staff member for my internship host from this year.  They have a had an increase in work and needed some additional hours and since I’m already trained, I’m a cheap new employee.  It is really nice to be asked to take the position and shows that my work during the year for them was worth it. 

Luckily, I’ll have a few weeks off throughout the summer to enjoy the Colorado sunshine and mountains.  I am excited to spend my summer away from school and have already created a summer leisure reading list!

Its……baseball time!

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is going to baseball games and living in Denver is a perfect setting!  There is a gorgeous view of the mountains and Denver skyline from Coors Field and tickets are incredibly inexpensive!  I went to a game yesterday, sat only 20 rows up from the field, and almost caught a foul ball…all for only $30!  Since my family is all from Chicago I grew up listening and watching Cubs games with my dad, and to this day I’m a die-hard fan.  Living in Denver now though means that I can’t visit Wrigley Field, but luckily the Cubbies still come out for a series verses the Rockies!

A few weeks ago the Cubs came out and I went to the 11th Annual “Cubpalooza”, a Chicagoan now living in Denver organizes the event so that Cubs fans (which almost outnumber Rockies fans here) can all get together.  For only $25 I got a t-shirt, free admission to several local bars to listen to live music before and after the game, and good seats with a whole block of other Cubs fans!  The Cubs also won, which made for a great day!  Denver’s a great city for baseball fans!

Second Year Internship

After several interviews with various agencies, I accepted an offer at St. Joseph Hospital in Behavioral Health. I actually will start the internship in June and continue throughout the academic year. This “summer block” option will allow me to balance my academic year and family life and other obligations a bit more. Further, I will have a unique opportunity to explore a geri-psych program that’s beginning at St. Joe’s in August. I think one of the great things about the DU GSSW program is that the is flexibility to mold your schedule and create an experience that is suited to support each student.

I actually had two interviews with St. Joe’s and really connected with the person who will be my supervisor and the two other people I would be working most directly with.  That is a critical piece of the internship for me. Feeling both supported, yet challenged, and being able to communicate clearly with your supervisor is really makes for the optimal field experience.

An outdoor movie theater?

Yes, GSA, the Graduate Student Association at GSSW, recently bought an outdoor projection screen for community nights! Our new on-site (portable) movie theater had its first use this past Friday with a screening of The Princess Bride. GSA sponsored a happy hour for students, faculty, and staff, providing food and space for some much needed R & R. After some tasty burritos and quesadillas from a nearby restaurant, people made their way over to the GSSW patio for freshly made popcorn and a classic film! It was a great opportunity to decompress under the stars, enjoy some fresh air, and laugh uncontrollably at silly antics. I’m looking forward to more cult classics and the opportunity to spend some time at the theaters (without spending $10 a ticket, of course) with friends and colleagues. Keep your eyes peeled for film screenings in the upcoming fall quarter.