The following letters were written by senior social work majors during their last semester at Mansfield University.
Dear Social Work Majors,
Congrats on choosing the best major ever! I give almost all of the credit to the independent and successful person that I am today, to Mansfield University's Social Work department. I have two big pieces of advice to offer you as an incoming freshman, a person new to the social work program, or whatever you may be. The first would be to enjoy your college experience. Put yourself out there; join clubs, get involved with volunteer work, take care of yourself, and make friends. Your college years are going to be some of the most difficult and most memorable moments of your life so make the best of it! My second piece of advice would be to find your passion. Don't be afraid to try something outside of your comfort zone. The possibilities with social work are endless and you are going to be passionate about so many causes. The faculty and staff in MU's social work department are incredible and more than willing to help any student who is willing to put the effort in. They want to see you succeed and be happy more than anything. Always reach out to them for advice or just to talk because we are a family. Pay attention to your classes, because you won't realize how much information you are actually able to apply until you reach your field experience. Field was 100% the most difficult and rewarding time of my social work experience thus far and I would not trade it for the world. For me, it completely solidified the fact that social work is the field I want to be in. With that being said, don't be afraid to find your passion, give to others, take care of yourself, and change the world!
Sincerely, Brianna Dion, Class of 2017
Dear New Social Work Majors,
Congratulations on choosing a career path that will change your life! 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 the chance to make a difference in their lives. You will become knowledgeable of how to work with people and change the way you look at people around you. I encourage you to stay in this major.
I think the biggest key to success is to go to class every day and don't miss unless necessary. Your professors in the social work program are by far the best you will ever have. They actually care about you and your success at Mansfield University. I recommend that you always save your papers and keep your books as they will be useful tools in the future. Finally, always practice what you learn in class on friends and family. If you aren't comfortable talking to people you know, how do you expect a stranger to open up and talk to you? 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 their story with you.
It may get hard but the reward at the end is so worth it; knowing you have the knowledge to make a difference in the lives of others. A quote I always go by, "A strong man stands up for himself, a stronger man stands up for others." One last thing is not to judge others. Treat others the way you want to be treated and always stay humble and kind. That will get you far in life.
Sincerely, Ryan Masti, Class of 2016
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 Incoming Social Work Majors,
Welcome to a rewarding field that is full of opportunity to positively impact the lives of others! It is no secret that social work programs can be stressful and demanding, but the satisfaction of knowing you will gain the knowledge and skills to change lives is worth the time, stress, and effort put in! As a graduating social work senior, my advice to you is to take advantage of all the opportunities this program has to offer you. Attending a small school allows for such a great learning experience if you make sure to use your resources to your benefit. One of the biggest advantages to attending a small school is having the chance to get to know teachers on a more personal level. Luckily, the social work department is full of knowledgeable, caring, and supportive teachers who genuinely want to see their student succeed. Don't be afraid to ask questions, get to know your teachers, don't just be a name on the class roster. I also advice new majors to get to know your social work classmates because I promise you'll be spending a whole lot of time with them. Having people who understand your coursework and major can make getting through classes and assignments so much easier. My last piece of advice is to do your shadowing, class projects, and field hours in different types of settings, even ones that put you outside of your comfort zone. Experiencing different social work settings helps you figure out how you want to use your degree when you are done with school. Good luck, work hard, and don't forget to take time to enjoy yourself!
Sincerely, Sara Hammond, 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