This past Tuesday, I started the third year of my grad school journey. Despite the stress of school, I have enjoyed the learning process. I have learned effective strategies for engaging and assessing clients. I have grown in self-awareness. I would consider myself a self-aware person already, but I have discovered the pros and cons of my thought processes. While I hold high standards for myself and strive to do well in all of my efforts, I need to become comfortable in making mistakes. Several wise instructors have informed me of my role as a student-learner. Hence, I do not have to excel at everything. It’s actually impossible to excel in everything anyways.
Grad school has led to emotional and intellectual growth. I have been given opportunities to explore various clinical interests, and I have met compassionate and intelligent colleagues. I have also trudged through my studies when I wanted to quit. I can recall numerous days where I felt incompetent or I wondered if social work was the right career choice. Yet, my parents and friends looked into my weary face and confirmed my intelligence. They encouraged me to finish school, and they saw me as a social worker when I viewed myself as an imposter.
But social work has become so ingrained in me. Now, it is challenging for me to even watch a TV show without assessing fictional characters for mental health conditions. Whenever I talk to a friend about a problem they are having, I will often use phrases such as “It looks like you are dealing with_____” and “It sounds like you are _________.”
Despite my own insecurities, I believe I am well-suited for this career. I am passionate about supporting clients as they work towards making personal changes in their lives. I am excited about pointing out the strengths of such clients and watching them realize that they have always been beautiful and resilient. Though, I am nervous about which agency, city, or even state that I will be in after I graduate. But I have recently been praying that I will follow Jesus’ guidance. That I will obey if God directs to remain in my hometown for a little while. Or if Jesus calls me to another New England city or even out of the New England area, I will also obey.
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me besides the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:1-3 (KJV)
The above Psalm is a familiar passage to me, as I have read it often in church services. Spiritually, I am a sheep and God is my shepherd. God is interested in answering my questions and helping me with my concerns. But regarding my post grad school life, I see the relevance of these verses. If I allow God to lead me, He will lead me to the job that is best for me. He will allow employers to give me favor. He will give me good things, because that’s what He does. He knows what I need.
I know this last year of school is going to be busy and even grueling, but I trust that God will give me the ability to endure. I will have those letters after my name: MSW, LCSW. Eventually, I will also have LISCW after my name. But I realize this entire journey is not just about having those letters. It is about surrendering every area of my life to God, even when my flesh yearns to live in my own way. My way is not right, but God’s way is wonderful, splendid, and adventurous!
Friends, I would appreciate it if you kept me in your prayers this year and post-graduation. I will be meditating on the following songs about trusting God: “Lead Me” by KJ Scriven and “The Voyage” by Amanda Cook. These songs minister to my heart, and I pray that you find them edifying as well.
Monica aka afrotasticlady