When I was younger I knew that when I grew up I wanted to help people.
Simple as that.
Trying to define how I was going to do that I originally thought of going to school to be a social worker. I decided against this though as I knew they weren’t paid very well and I wanted a job that I could do part time around being a stay at home mom. So I choose to go into psychology and planned to obtain my masters and then go on to do clinical work on a part-time basis.
During my first semester of school I was mapping out my course and credits and realized that I was going to be a few credits short to graduate. So I picked up the school course calendar and began flipping through it. When I got to the social work section I got excited while reading through the course descriptions. I immediately signed up for intro to social work for the next semester. A few weeks into the course I knew that social work was what I was supposed to study. I loved learning about behaviours and the brain chemistry behind psychology but social work did all of that plus took into account the environment in which the person was in and the influence that it had on them. I also loved that hands-on practicum experience was a required part of the social work degree.
I went to my academic advisor and officially changed my major to social work. I decided to keep a minor in psychology as there were still a few courses in that area like abnormal psychology that I wanted to take. I worked really hard and was able to complete my degree summa cum laude and as a member of two honours societies.
Nearing the end of my Bachelors degree I decided that I wanted to pursue a masters in social work. A few universities in Canada were offering an advanced placement program where I would only have to attend for 1 year and I would graduate with my MSW. I applied to the University of Toronto for the following fall. I also applied to a grant program through the government. Shortly thereafter I received news that I hade been awarded the full grant. I was over the moon excited knowing that my dreams were coming true.
And then I discovered that I was pregnant.
A few weeks later I received a reply from the U of T telling me that I was on the waitlist for the program. A high honour considering they only took 40 students a year.
I knew I wouldn’t be going though. Even if a spot opened up I was due just two months after it was to begin. I was disappointed and felt like my dreams had come crashing down. Life went on and we had lots of surprises and challenges over the years. I still had the dream of obtaining my MSW and then my Registered Social Worker (RSW) one day though.
About a year after my third son was born as I was looking at going back to work and I realized that with some more supervision hours I would be eligible to receive my RSW. I found a job that complied with the supervision hours and was eventually able to add those three little letters behind my name.
I felt like even though I had given up the plan to obtain my masters degree I had reached a professional milestone that I had been working towards for years. I ended up working on and off for the next few years including just last summer. Those three little letters behind my name gave me what I felt was credibility that even though I was a stay at home mom I was also an RSW.
However, when it came time for me to renew my RSW this year I decided not to. My life has changed since that time and now that I am expecting my 5th child I don’t expect to be working in that field any time in the years to come. It’s hard for my ego to let those little letters go but this quote from Joseph Campbell sums up how I have been feeling lately.
I don’t regret the path that I have taken or the degree or experiences that I have had. Everything that I have learned I have been able to apply in my daily life with my own children and family. I may not be working in a professional environment but I am able to help out friends, neighbors and acquaintances with resources and questions.
I don’t know what is next for me in life but I’m excited to see what comes and to be able to live the life that is waiting for me.