Friday, December 13, 2013

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Smile through the Stress

I saw this picture and it really rings true for me right now.  I feel quite overwhelmed and pulled in many different directions.  Graduate school is stressful enough, but now I am starting to have anxiety about what in the world I will be doing and where in the world I will be come graduation in May 2014.

I do find myself smiling when I am completely overwhelmed.  I don't think I want to hide my stress out of fear of looking weak, but more because I don't like to be miserable.  I can smile through adversity because I have hope that things will get better.  I smile because I don't want to be a negative person.  I don't like when I am unhappy, grumpy, pessimistic, and frustrated.  I don't like when my negative attitude negatively effects those around me.  I think choosing to smile despite our struggles is important.  But enough more so, I think smiling because of our struggles is even more powerful.  Looking back on my life, all the overwhelming moments helped me grow to be a more competent and confident person.  It is a powerful thing to have the ability to look at struggles as a gift to grow and learn about yourself.  That really changes your perspective on life and stress.

I also believe the physical act of smiling actually makes you start to feel better.  This goes back to the concept, "fake it until you make it".  When I am having a bad day and I choose to frown and be negative my day stays awful or just gets even worse.  But when I choose to smile, I slowly start to feel better and I start to see solutions to my problems. 

I am reminded of the lyrics to Nat King Cole's song....

"Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking...
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile"  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Never Give Up

 When life (or graduate school, which is my whole life right now) is difficult I try to find the resiliency and strength to keep going.  When practicing archery it is essential to calmly aim before releasing the arrow.  With focus and determination, you can hit a bullseye, in archery and in life.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Believing Change is Possible
One of the lessons I have learned in my clinical internship is to not fall in love with potential. For example, you are working with a client for several months to help them change a negative pattern of behavior, an addiction, etc. The client proclaims they are "fixed" and they are ready to start their new life, but the next day you find out that your client fell off the proverbial wagon or ended back up in jail.  Not falling in love with the potential we see in our clients must be balanced with still having hope for our clients and encouraging them that change is possible.

I have learned that there are three important things to remember in regards to this:

1. You do not make your clients who they are

2. And therefore, you do not have the power to make them change

3. Change takes time

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Believing In Yourself

Sometimes I feel like I can be my own worst enemy when instead I should be my biggest cheerleader and supporter.  Life is so much easier and challenges don't seem quite as hard when we believe in ourselves.  As social workers we are excellent at finding the strengths in our clients.  We see resiliency and strengths in even the most difficult and seemingly hopeless situations.  Why can't we do this for ourselves?

In my clinical practice with groups class we are learning about running a self esteem support group and one of my peers shared this quote.   It really made me think about how important it is to believe in myself:

"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,  deserve your love and affection." -Buddha

Saturday, September 14, 2013


One of the biggest difference between my undergraduate career and graduate school is that I really try to learn not just for the grade, but because I will need the skills and knowledge in my profession.

In high school, I had a little sheet of paper with a quote by Albert Einstein on it hanging in my locker.  When I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed this quote helped remind me why I was working so hard. The note said:

"Never regard study as a duty but as an enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belong."

- Albert Einstein

In graduate school, this quote still inspires me. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Welcome Fall Semester 2014!

The fall semester of my Masters of Social Work Program has officially begun. This is my clinical year where we begin to apply our theoretical foundation to practice with individuals, families, and groups.

The start of a new semester comes with the challenge of adjusting to a full schedule, early mornings and late nights, time management, and lots of reading.

One of my goals this semester is to really practice self care so that when I am a social worker in the field I will have that as an established pattern of behavior.  Another goal at I have for this semester is to utilize the skills and knowledge from my classes and apply it directly in my field internship.  I want to learn from my mistakes, because I know I will have them.   I plan to use this year to establish myself as a burgeoning social worker so that when I walk across the stage at graduation I will feel that I have defined skills in my social worker tool belt. 

I am ready and dedicated to this year of hard work.  So as I take the first textbook off the top of my textbook tower, I wish myself and my fellow graduate students good luck!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Take Time to Live

Self care is about giving to yourself so you can keep giving to others.  It is learning about yourself and what refuels your passion and energy.  As social workers we can be excellent at giving advice to clients, family, and coworkers about practicing self care, but we often forget to advise ourselves.  It is important to be able to recognize the signs of when it is time to take a break and let ourselves live.  Taking time to live will only inspire your work.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fighting for Social Justice: Wealth Inequality in America

This morning I watched a video about the wealth inequality in the United States of America.  Through my social work classes I have learned how drastic of a disparity there is between the top 1% wealthiest Americans and the poorest Americans.  However, this video still shocked my mind and heart.  I think I was most stunned at the difference between the public's perception of the inequality and the reality of our country. 

The inequality of wealth is so much worse than what the majority of Americans perceive it to be. The video did an excellent job explaining this through stunning visual representations.  

This visual shows that the bottom 80% of Americans only hold 7% of the wealth in the U.S.  

As I watched this video I thought about the millions of Americans who are living in poverty.  The social work profession is committed to the empowerment of those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.  Many of my clients have fallen in the poorest categories, barely able to provide for basic needs or having to make the hard decision of buying their child's medication or putting food on the table.  It is so important to be educated on the structural inequalities as we challenge social injustices. 

I definitely recommend watching this video and let me know what you think!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Inspiration: Mother Teresa

This is one of my absolutely favorite quotes when I need encouragement to keep believing in the good in the world and in people.