Letters to new Social Work Majors

The following letters were written by senior social work majors during their last semester at Mansfield University.

Welcome new social work majors!

Congratulations on making one of the greatest decisions of your life by joining the social work major at Mansfield University!  This program truly has a great curriculum and great professors who will help you gain the education and develop the skills you need to achieve the career of your dreams.

As you grow throughout your social work education, I would recommend gaining as much shadowing and volunteer experience in as many different fields as possible.  There are so many different paths you can take in social work, and I recommend trying out each one to see where your true interests lie.  You may think you already know where you want to work, but then again, your could surprise yourself.  Shadowing and volunteer experiences never look bad on a resume.  It shows future employers that you want to learn and want to gain as much experience as possible.

Some more advice for new students: be active in class!  Don't be afraid to raise your hand or speak your opinion.  It will only give you practice for the future - when you have to stand up and advocate on behalf of your clients.  Also, utilize your professors as much as possible.  They have so much experience and are extremely knowledgeable on what to expect in the field.  If you're having a problem in class, address it with them.  They want to see you succeed and will help as much as they can!

Even though you may get stressed at times or feel like your brain is fried from writing so many papers, just know that it is all worth it in the end.  You will be enhancing the futures for so many people.  You will make an impact in this world!  You should be proud to be a social worker!

Good luck and enjoy the ride!

Sincerely, Haley Fitzwater, Class of 2015


Dear new social work major,

Congratulations on choosing such a noble and important career path!  Social Work certainly isn't for everyone, but those that stick with it will find that it is one of the most rewarding career paths out there.

There will be times in your journey as a social work student where you'll doubt yourself.  You will be challenged to step far out of your comfort zone.  You will hear about very sad, but very true occurrences.  You will feel absolutely overwhelmed from all of the work involved.

You will also meet some of the best professors of the Mansfield University community.  You will form friendships with your classmates that will make you proud to be a social work major.  You will learn that you are so much more capable than you thought.  You will discover hidden strengths and passions.  You will learn that you can truly change the world.  You will look at the world in a new and improved way.  And you will know in your heart that every single second was worth it. 

My advice to you would be to take advantage of all of the wonderful opportunities you have as a student.  You have professors that want to see you succeed and are available to help you.  You will have the opportunity to join the Social Work Club and possibly an honor society - take advantage of these opportunities as you can gain some great volunteer experiences through them.  I would also urge you to pay close attention in your classes and to put effort into your assignments.  As you go out into the field, you'll find many connections to what you've learned and you may wish you had paid closer attention.  

The most important advice I could give, however, is to take care of yourself.  Remember that you are not superman or superwoman - you are human.  If you're gong into this field, it's probably because you love to help people.  Understand that it is okay to say "no" to people at times.  As cliche as it sounds, make sure you're getting enough rest, water, nutrition, exercise, and laughter.  You'll find that you can do a much better job at taking care of others when you're taking care of yourself.  

Believe in yourself and in the fact that you can make a difference in the world, and I can guarantee you will!

Best, A graduate of the M.U. Social Work Program, Class of 2015

Dear Social Work Majors,

Congratulations on your acceptance into Mansfield University!  First, I want you to understand that you just made the best decision of your life to enter the field of Social Work.  In this letter, I'm going to be offering you some advice, recommendations, encouragement and other insights of what you should expect when entering the Social Work Program at M.U.  The first major advice I would offer is that you should start working on your speaking, listening and writing skills.  These three components will help you throughout your journey in the social work program.  Many of the social work courses at MU require these three components when completing different assignments, activities, and projects.  The second thing I would recommend is that you should build a strong relationship with your professors and classmates.  Having the strong support system of my professors and classmates was a huge help during some of my stressful moments in the program.  My professors and classmates were always there to offer amazing advice or guidance.  The last and most important thing I would encourage you to do is be yourself!  As a future social worker, the most important thing you should always remember is that in order to help someone, you must first know yourself.  

I want to congratulate you once again on your decision to enter the field of social work and wish you the best of luck on your journey.  Remember this journey will not be easy, but the final destination will be one to never forget.

Sincerely, Karl Fray, Class of 2015

Dear New Social Work Major,

Congratulations for making the decision to help others!  As you may or may not know, social work is the greatest major you could have chosen.  Not only do you get the chance to help others, but you get to know who you are, better.  This major will challenge you, stress you, make you question your own beliefs and will instill in you the art of caring for others.  It will make you knowledgeable of how to work with people and will make you crave for more.  I encourage you to please stay in this major!  It will be challenging at first but all your efforts will pay off in the end.  The key is to stay focused and always seek advice from your peers and from your professors.  They will be your guides and your confidants.  You will benefit most in this program by keeping in constant contact with them because they will be the ones to help you the most.

I recommend that you always save your papers.  Always!  You never know when you may need that syllabus again.  Practice what you learn in class on friends and family.  If you aren't comfortable with talking to people you know how do you expect to talk to a stranger?  Become comfortable with your craft and your story.  In this major you will tell your story more than once, and if you are not comfortable with telling it, you cannot expect someone else to share theirs with you.

I wish you all the best as you embark on the journey of becoming not only a social worker but the best person you could possibly be!  If you ever have doubts about your chosen career path, always remember:  Social Workers Change Lives.

Wishing you the best, Karaina Patterson, Class of 2015

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.


Good luck, Danielle Medycki, Class of 2013