Why I am in Grad School

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I am almost done with my second semester of Grad School. 12:15 weeks. Two more papers and I am done until Fall.

I used to say I would go to Grad School but then either would not apply or not go if I was admitted (sorry La Verne school of Gerontology). I put it off because I was a single mother of a fabulous daughter and also burned out from eventually completing college in my nifty 8 year journey to a 4 year degree. I took time off to have aforementioned fabulous daughter and then change life goals and struggle economically.

Just as my daughter hit high school I was going to try again, and then ANOTHER daughter showed up (You might suspect I had an idea of how these kids kept appearing… but I am a slow learner and all)  so I waited a little more while I worked that situation out and stabilized my life again…with a lot of help from family and friends.

In the meanwhile I kept working with homeless adults and children. In my free time I volunteered for an agency providing services to families in poverty. I kept learning and growing and I liked it.

But I felt trapped.

I would watch the light die in people’s eyes when I was speaking about what I knew – and then they found out that I only had a bachelor degree. All of my experience and knowledge meant nothing to them without a higher degree to validate my position.

At Valley College one day I was pulled into the CalWork’s director’s office and instructed to start applying for Grad School.  Ellie is a sweet but formidable woman so it is always best to do what she wants, so I did.

USC accepted me. After a month here, La Verne PsyD program accepted me too, but I was already deep into my MSW.

So, when you wonder why I bother juggling daycare for Darla and worrying about work and internship combined next year, now you know why I have made these choices.

When someone tells me to drop out of school because I have a nice county job, please understand that I feel trapped in my county job. I die a little each day there because I have more to offer than I can at work. I have more to offer than I am allowed to offer without a MSW. My Bachelor Degree from LA Verne has serviced me well, but I have worn holes in it and found myself in a dead end. I want to do more. I deserve the chance to be validated for what I have learned. These 3 years will pass if I am in school or not, but if I drop out, I will have no way to change my situation.

I owe money for a house and I won’t ever be able to repay it without a better paying career, and that means I need another degree… or a sugar daddy which I am opposed to on my Anti Gold Digging principles.

I have dreams and won’t achieve them without a degree.

I want to have a schedule where I can spend more time with Darla than I was able to with Jackie.

I want to have a job where I am doing the same work for the same pay as college graduates the same age as my oldest daughter. It makes me feel like the nightmares I had in Jr High where I was held back a year and watched my friends succeed without me. You all had nightmares about public nudity, I had nightmares about failures.

Interesting to note, this Grad School stuff is the easiest school work I have ever done because of the extra twenty years of experience in the field working in homeless shelters, transitional living, senior centers and Welfare to work programs. I really do feel like I am getting the degree that reflects my expertise.

Recently someone I love and admire told me to drop out of school and be happy with my county job. I was so hurt to hear that. I felt that he sees me as a failure who is not going to benefit from this time and money. He was the last person I would expect to sabotage my confidence.

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Sonya the Social Worker

But I am still here.

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