The following letters were written by senior social work majors during their last semester at Mansfield University.
Dear new social work major,
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on choosing social work as your major. If you have the desire to make a difference in the world, you have certainly picked the right major.
There are several things I have learned in my journey through college that I would like to share with you. First, keep up with your school work. Do not procrastinate or get behind in any class or project. Stay as current with your projects as you can. College is not only about learning in the classroom but it is also about learning life lessons. MU offers many ways to get the support you need. Take advantage of all the supports that are available to you. Also remember that your professors are social workers as well, so please remember to consider them as a resource as well.
I would also say to be organized. Learn what works for you and stay with it. It is very important to get a planner and schedule all your tasks so you can stay organized. Being organized is not just a lesson for school. It is very important to learn to stay organized now rather than being in the field and having to learn the hard way because you forgot a meeting with your client or worse yet, court date.
Get to know your advisor. Be sure to check in with your advisor a couple of times a semester to make certain that you are on track with your classes for graduation.
Don't forget to take care of yourself. There are times when you may be overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done to be successful in college. It is very important to take care of yourself. Remember to use your support system.
Challenge yourself to grow. There will be situations that arise that are gong to challenge you to face yourself. Please, take the challenge and face yourself. There are plenty of resources on campus to support you through whatever you might be experiencing.
Last of all have fun, have no regrets, and do not be afraid to fail. After all, how can we ask our clients to do something that we cannot?
Best of luck, Matthew Berkowitz, Class of 2014
Dear new social work major,
Congratulations on being accepted into this awesome, interesting and diverse field! If you are compassionate and empathetic towards others, you're in the right place. This program offers you a chance to learn the foundations of social work and then put them into practice with a 500 hour internship. This may sound overwhelming right now, but all you have to do is take each semester at a time.
The professors and staff in this program are an accomplished and gifted group of people. I would recommend you get to know each of them, as well as your advisor, as they can provide valuable guidance to help make your college experience the best it can be!
To succeed in this program you need to be organized. Do not procrastinate! Try to get your work done early. Many of the professors will let you turn in work for some feedback before you turn in the final paper or project... take advantage of this. Don't be intimidated by the through of role plays or group work. By the time you do these things, you'll know some of your classmates well and it won't be as bad as it sounds. This is a challenging field so expect to push yourself because the professors will have high expectations for you. But it's such a rewarding career. Social workers change futures!!!
Take advantage of everything college has to offer... social groups, honor societies, field trips and any other opportunity you come across. Be open to new ideas and come to truly know yourself.... know where you come from and what personal biases you may have. You may think you know what population you want to work with or what setting you want to work in, but be open to looking into different areas, you may be surprised.
Best of luck to you in your college education and your future career!
Joanne Babcock, Class of 2014
Dear incoming Social Work students,
Welcome to our crazy, interesting, never dull, and intriguing profession! Through the Social Work Program at Mansfield University, you will learn many techniques and skills that will carry with you through your future career. But never fear, if you feel as though you can't learn enough from books alone, during your last semester you will have an internship at a site of your choice where you will put in five hundred hours. This experience can either be one of the best or worst of your schooling career: it's all in what you make it!
Take time to learn about your fellow students and each of your professors. These are the people that you will be spending the rest of your college career with so it is important to get to know them. By learning about your fellow students, you will be able to gage who you would work better with if put in a group project scenario. As you may already know, the group you are with can either make or break your group grade.
Stay organized! You will be receiving a lot of information and due dates from your professors, so keeping it all organized will be important. I suggest getting a day planner and writing all of your assignment due dates, social work club meeting dates, social work club trip dates and any other event you need to plan for. This way, you always know what you have coming up which will be a huge help!
Take one day at a time and try to have fun! Social work classes are laid back and fun. Never be afraid to ask questions! Your professors are there to help guide you through this experience, so use their knowledge to its full potential. Your professors will make your classroom experience fun and interesting. There isn't one social work professor that I have not enjoyed, and I'm sure that you will enjoy them too.
I am a senior social work major and am graduating in May - twenty nine days to go - and I cannot believe how quickly my time in this major has gone by. Definitely take each day and make the most of it. Never put off until tomorrow, what you can accomplish today. Set goals for yourself and strive to achieve them. Sometimes we lose sight of what our goals are when we get overwhelmed with projects, papers, and exams. Never forget why you are in college and why you chose the social work program as your career path. Remember to take time for yourself as well. Self-care is something that we stress in this profession because it is so easy to burn yourself out by trying to do too much.
Lastly, don't forget about your family and friends back home, or at school. Those are the people who will carry you through the hard times, and be there with you to enjoy the good times.
YOU CAN DO IT!
Good luck, Danielle Medycki, Class of 2013
Dear Social Work Major,
Congratulations on declaring Social Work as your major! This is a fantastic field of work that is extremely flexible and offers a variety of jobs for you. Whether you want to work with children or the aging population, there is something for everyone. I am a senior social work major who is about to graduate with a BSW. My first piece of advice for the program is to not be afraid to ask questions. There will be times when you get stuck and will need the advice of your peers and professors. Don't be scared to ask for help!! My next piece of advice is to take advantage of every volunteer opportunity as possible. It helps you to get your name out there and network with different agencies. Also, don't be afraid to try new things. You may think you know what population you want to work with, but don't rule out anything just yet. I completed my internship with CONCERN in Wellsboro, PA and had the pleasure of working with the Family Based Mental Health Team. During my internship, I went into the home and did family therapy as well as into the schools for one-on-one therapy with children. I highly recommend this agency for your internship. I had such a memorable, exciting, and knowledgeable experience with the team. No matter where you decide to complete an internship, when the time comes, you'll know exactly where you want to be. I encourage you to have confidence and never doubt yourself. Its okay if some things don't work out. The social work field never stays the same and it's important to use your critical thinking skills. I wish you all the best of luck and remember.....ADVOCATE for your clients!
Sincerely, Amanda Quinn, Class of 2013
Hello! Congratulations on your acceptance into the Mansfield University Social Work Program! If you have a passion and commitment to learning how to help vulnerable populations in need; you have come to the right department. The experience you will get from this program will benefit you personally as well as professionally.
The one critical piece of advice I can give to you is to get to know your advisor and your professors. You have access to a group of amazing individuals that are all committed to helping you succeed as a social worker. The knowledge they possess alone makes them incredible. Understand, they will push you and rightfully so. They push because they know you are capable of producing greatness. They push because they are committed to teaching new social workers the right way to help once they enter the field in a professional capacity. They also push because they truly care about you as individuals. They will test your patience, ignite your passion, and give you all of the tools you need to succeed.
The next piece of advice I can give to you is to not be afraid to speak your mind in class, or just even life in general. The social work classroom is a safe one. Do not fear sounding stupid or that people will laugh at you. Honestly, so what if they do? You have to be able to question things you do not understand, share your beliefs and values, and be true to who you are. Some of the most amazing conversations come out of saying something that scares you.
Do not quit the program when you read the syllabus for Research I or II. Believe me; I thought it was written in a different language when I first read it! Funny thing is, I stuck with it and I cannot tell you how much passion I have for research now. The class is hard, expectations are high; however, research is absolutely necessary for our profession. It benefits us as practitioners and the clients we work with. It impacts social policies and treatment standards. The need for research will always be great, so if you end up loving it like I did that is just an added bonus for the profession!
I truly wish you the best of luck moving forward. I wish you luck in your future endeavors and hope to one day call you a colleague. Good luck and congratulations again!
Sincerely, Katie Griffin, Class of 2011