My Introduction to Social Work class is by far one of the most interesting classes I have taken in my short college career. I registered for this class with the idea that it might help me decide if Social Work is a field that I may want to go into (hardly knowing much about it at all from the get-go.) I'm three weeks into the semester and I can already tell you that I absolutely love the class. I love the material and I love the discussions. There is such a wide variety of students of all ages, with all kinds of history, experiences, and backgrounds. It seems as if there is somebody who has personal experience with every issue that has come up so far. Everything from trouble with parents to drug and alcohol abuse to disease to poverty has been covered and expanded upon by someone who has faced it head on in their life. The class has been such an interesting look at people and the struggles they face. It's exactly the kind of thing that has always interested me most.
Still, the big question that I am trying to answer this semester remains. Is this something that I could see as a career? I learned in class, recently, that it is possible to become a therapist with a Master's degree in Social Work. That is something that I have always thought would be incredibly interesting. The problem I've had with it in the past is that I had been led to believe that you had to have a PhD in Psychology to be able to go into that career field and I really just do not want to be in school for that long. A Master's degree, though? I think I can handle the five total years of schooling required to earn an MSW. I'm already a year down. To think that four years from now I could be going out into the field doing something that I have always imagined myself doing is kind of incredible to me. Three years from now I could have a BSW and be working in a place where I could be truly helping people. The idea is such a dream to me.
Does the fact that this inspires me so much mean that it will be a better fit for me than teaching would? I can seriously imagine myself living in an apartment, working in the social work field wherever I can with my BSW while working on my MSW with the ultimate goal of becoming a therapist somewhere down the line. It seems like a life that I would really, really love and something that I could really want. I've always had reservations about going into teaching. Would I really like it? Do I only really think teaching would be a good fit for me because school is really all I've ever known? Can I seriously teach English with the amount of time I've spent avoiding reading in school? My biggest concerns with Social Work so far have been whether or not I can find a job where I'll actually make money and if I'll become as burned out with it as the people that I have read about online are.
I've had this conversation with my mom a lot lately. She keeps saying to my sisters and I that we can't let our futures become focused on how much money we're going to make. I've been all over the place lately with things that I could possibly end up going into as a career. Conversations at work and with my friends always end up on the subject of how we're going to get out of our current jobs and into careers where we'll really start making money. If I go into the medical field or even accounting, I could definitely end up making more money than I ever would if I go into either teaching or social work. In fact, living in Utah means that I will probably always make less as a teacher and a social worker than I would in other areas of the US. Should that matter? If I take my mom's advice than the answer is certainly that it shouldn't matter if either of those things are something that I would truly enjoy doing. Plus, it's not like I would be out on the streets in either career. The average salary for them both is enough and certainly more than I would make if I were to leave school completely (which isn't even a thought, I'm just putting it out there as perspective.)
In an ideal world, someone would come up to me and say "You need to be this. Here's how you do it. Now go." As it is, I'm stuck trying to figure out for myself where I will fit in the world. Sometimes I feel like I hardly know myself at all. It's like looking at a complete stranger an trying to tell them what to do and where to live and how to feel. Maybe what I truly need to do is just stop over thinking everything. I love my Social Work class. I love psychology and meeting new people and helping them in whatever ways that I can. I have always thought that I would be able to truly help people as a therapist. Why should all of these other thoughts come in and jumble everything up?