The following letters were written by senior social work majors during their last semester at Mansfield University.
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
Hi Social Work Student!
I'm sure you're generally new to this program and unsure of what's ahead of you. I'm telling you now that in this field you will definitely feel rewarded. Social work is amazing, it's the kind of work that is priceless (although yes it can be lower on the salary scale). But be glad that you chose Social Work. You will help people and change people's lives more than you know. It will also change your life for the better. To get to specifics regarding the Social Work program at Mansfield University, expect to be challenged. The work is hard but totally worth it in the end! Each professor has their own way of teaching you so and so on. You'll get to know that and act accordingly. Although the classes get harder as you move up through college and you'll write until you get hand cramps, the end result is so awesome there aren't words. So I wish the best for you. You'll do great. And remember that as long as you have your passion, it will drive you through everything. Good luck and welcome to Social Work!
Sincerely, Mariana Grala, 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
Dear Social Work Major,
You have taken what is most likely the first step into what I personally believe is one of the most rewarding professions. As an older, non-traditional commuter student, I bring quite a different perspective to the college scene as well as the major. Choosing Mansfield was one of the best decisions I could have made. The professors here at our university, and especially in our major, go above and beyond. You may not know it or believe it yet, but you really do have the tools to succeed and these fantastic professors will show you how to utilize them. Just like your classmates, they can become lifelong friends and mentors. Seek them out, get to know them, hang out a social work gatherings, and get involved in the clubs and social work honor societies. Their wealth of knowledge and first-hand experiences are truly amazing and they really care about their students.
As with anything one desires and pursues, there is a lot of hard work. First and foremost, I would highly recommend getting a yearly planner to keep yourself organized. Second, take advantage of the tutoring center and seek out responsible classmates and your professors for any and all assistance you may need. It is always good to have a mentor who has an understanding of what you are going through. Never stop asking questions as that is how we learn. Third, get your work done early because it helps you be prepared for the next assignment down the road, and believe me there are going to be times when things are due one right after the other! The last bit of advice I would offer you is to remember the Golden Rule. It is so important to treat others the way you want to be treated.
I wish you the best of everything and encourage you to have fun in your time here at Mansfield University. The memories you make will be forever treasured.
Abundant Blessings, Lisa R. Kelchner-Kunzmann, Class of 2011