In many ways I am future oriented. I find I enjoy the present when I have some sense of what’s coming next. This also makes me a planner, and I can plan like crazy… lists, charts, plans, they are a part of my life that fits in naturally. Now I also believe that if you spend too much time worrying about your future, then you are giving up the opportunity to enjoy the moment. So how do I balance that with my planning tendencies? Well, sometimes I don’t do such a great job, I get distracted by all I want from life and forget about how awesome right now is! But I think that in general, my planning actually helps me avoid becoming too distracted by what hasn’t happened. This is because I spend some time focusing on the future and figuring out where I want to be headed, what my goals are, and then I don’t worry about it anymore. True, I am working towards the goals I set, but I’m enjoying the process, rather than freaking out about the destination because I know that while my plans might (as in, probably will) change, I also know that I have something to work towards.
So that’s what I’m doing now… planning, that is. You see I’m working on my application to the social work program, which includes where I see myself using my degree in Social Work. TO be honest… I HAVE NO CLUE!!! but I do have some ideas. (remember these are for right after college… not long, long-term plans
1. Teach For America.
True, this doesn’t fit the usual mold for where social majors are headed… but there is a large need that I think a social worker could fill quite well. If you don’t know, Teach for America is a program where the U.S. government covers interest on federal student loans for two years while the recent college graduate (typically those who didn’t graduate with an Ed. major) are placed in high-need school to work as a teacher while working towards receiving a teachers certification and in same cases a masters degree in Education. Now, when I realize that this is at the top of my list for possible after college plans, I wonder “well if you wanted to be a teacher why aren’t you an Ed major?” but the thing is, I don’t want to be an Ed major, I want to be a social work major. My primary goal in life is to take care of people, to work for social justice… and this more than anything is at the heart of social work. Learning is at the center of Education majors, and while I love learning, it’s not my personal goal for the world. One of the reasons this program is so appealing to me is that I’d be working towards social justice in an unexpected way. Going into schools where there is a need for teachers who are willing to look for, and draw on the strengths of their students… sounds like social justice to me.
2. Find a job as a “Social Worker”
AKA find a job in a position where the role is as a social worker. Yeah I know, crazy idea, but I’m a social work major… if you think about it, it kind of makes sense. All kidding aside, this would be utilizing my skills and passions in a more typical fashion. Now I would love to be in a setting where I can work with youth (this is also part of why Teach for America is so appealing…) whether that means in social services, or in some other setting… I’m excited for the possibilities.
3. Go To Grad School
I’m hoping not to do this right out of college. I have the feeling that by the time I graduate from EMU I’ll feel like jumping into the workforce and having a job, rather than continuing on as a student. I also think that experience is helpful when one goes into grad school because it will give me a better grasp on what I want to study (you know MSW vs. Counseling… that sort of thing).
4. Rethink My Life…
If none of these options appeal to me/work out then I might end up going through some great adventure to “find myself” and by this I mean that I’ll try to have my loan payments deferred while I do a year (or two) of service with MCC… who knows, maybe I’ll discover a life passion that I never knew I had.
All of this is to say… I can’t wait to see where the future takes me…
Lots of Love, Mandi Jo