As We Embark on a New Year, BCSSW Students Reflect on ‘Why Social Work?’

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The end of a calendar year can be a good time to reflect on where we are in our lives, and where we would like to go. Recently, members of the BCSSW Macro Social Work Student Group gathered to do just this, in a new workshop convened by Professors Tiziana Dearing and Margaret Lombe entitled “Remembering Your Why.”

“Amid the flurry of classes, field placements, exams, and job searches, we are hard-pressed to find time to eat dinner, let alone reflect on our choice of profession,” explains Megan Toohey, a second-year MSW student at BCSSW.

“Many of us were drawn to social work by deep-rooted personal values, experiences, or beliefs about the world. Yet, the deluge of assignments begins to feel like drudgery when we feel disconnected from these ‘whys.’”

Encouraged by the guidance of Professors Dearing and Lombe, students were able to reconnect with their own personal reasons for choosing a career devoted to helping others. At the end of the workshop, they were asked to draw on identified strengths, skills, and passions, in order to craft a statement of why.

“As many chose to share their statements with the group, it became clear that every answer expressed something essential to the person who wrote it, both in style and in content,” says Toohey. “Each of us walked away with a statement that we can return to again and again for motivation and grounding. Perhaps even more powerful, however, was the collective feeling of inspiration captured by the uniqueness of so many statements all rooted in a shared commitment to social work.”

Below, five BCSSW students share their “why” with us. Read on, you may just be inspired to reflect on your own raison d’ être just in time to make solid resolutions for your 2016. Each quote is a response to the prompt, “I am a social worker because…”

  • When you’re free, I’m free. I am a social worker because when I’m walking to my field placement every day, the threads of society aren’t just tying that man without a home to the sidewalk; they’re pulling at my ankles, following me as I continue on. I don’t feel guilt. I don’t feel pity. I feel duty, solidarity with a fellow human, and a childlike inability to understand injustice. I am a social worker because when you’re free, I’m free.”- Alyssa Lowell
  • “I believe in the beauty of our human family and the holiness of every person, and because I believe I have been blessed with unique gifts that can help restore beauty and dignity where it has been lost.”- Caitlin O’Donnell
  • “I want to challenge that which is taboo in communities, systems, and families; to ensure that stories are heard, feelings are understood, resources are known, and all are empowered.” – Danielle Joseph
  • “I believe with relentless optimism that compassionate critical thinking can cut through the noise of complex social problems to ensure that every person has the opportunity to thrive.”- Megan Toohey
  • “I want to organize and mobilize people to stand with the voiceless and powerless, such as child abuse victims and victims of senseless crimes. I am a social worker because I stand behind the individual person to give their voice and power back. I am a social worker because I use my skills, talents, and drive to lead and be a warrior.” – Taylor Leach

3 thoughts on “As We Embark on a New Year, BCSSW Students Reflect on ‘Why Social Work?’

  1. I love this!! So glad to hear that this workshop happened and that people felt like they could reconnect with the “why” of being a social worker. Social work isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life. That’s for the inspiration!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So inspired to hear about this workshop and to hear some snapshots of “why” we are social workers. To me, being a social worker isn’t just a profession, it’s an identity and a way of life. Being a macro social worker is also part of the calling to serve others, and I’m proud to represent my field. Glad to hear from all of you. Wishing you luck, inspiration and hope in the new year! Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: BCSSW Students Reflect on ‘Why Social Work’ During 2nd Annual Yearend Workshop | Innovate@BCSocialWork

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