I write this as I ride on a bus heading to Chicago. I have never been on such a huge bus before. There are 77 other passengers and their suitcases in this thing with me. When I was waiting in at the end of the line to get into this bus, I was frankly worried that we wouldn’t all be able to fit into the bus. Yet, here I am, sitting atop the second-story bus, surrounded by New Yorkers either sleeping in their seats (most of the at this point) or quietly chatting amongst themselves, all as I silently type away on my iPad. I am heading “home” for winter break, and as a rather intense feeling of hunger continues to bother me, I reflect back on the fact that my fall semester as a second-year MSW student is completed.
Of course, as anyone would expect, I am relieved. I feel proud of myself too. I had to adjust to a lot of new things this past semester. This was my first social work internship in which I was not assigned a caseload of clients. Instead my new internship has me meeting with leaders of various divisions and organizations, drafting documents and letters, consulting with teams, and other kinds of work I would categorize as “macro social work,” as opposed to “direct practice work” or “clinical work.” Even after over five years of social work education and training (4 years as a BSW student, 1 year as a MSW student), I feel like I was placed in a social work universe I initially was not prepared to understand, much less handle well. I’m doing well now though, in addition to having completing my classes and having been involved with a few student groups. Perhaps needless to say, I feel quite proud of myself at this point.
That’s not to say I couldn’t have had a more productive successful semester. Overcoming my lazy tendencies was a huge struggle a lot of the times and I honestly succumbed to it many times throughout the semester, too many to count actually.
Heading home I feel ambivalent about. On the one hand, of course I’m excited and relieved to be away from school and internship, to visit my parents and spend time with them. Because they’ll have me be involved in a number of things, like help out at my dad’s church and help my mom with some of her job issues, my winter break at my parents’ home isn’t going to be completely relaxing, but nonetheless, it is a good break away from my obligations in the city. So that’s nice. On the other hand, though, I feel a bit anxious about leaving my internship for the winter break.
At my internship, I contributed heavily to an important project. While I’m gone, enjoying Christmas and whatnot, most of the project will have been finished. Even as head home I worry a bit about how it’ll turn out. I worry a bit that it wouldn’t turn out as good as it could be without me there giving my assistance and guidance. It might be a bit arrogant of me to think this way, to think of my involvement as that important. I think though that this restlessness is more a reflection of my workaholic tendencies. I mean, I tend to be quite lazy at home, but if this is how I feel about my internship as a graduate student, I kind of don’t want to imagine how I’ll be like when I end up in charge of certain obligations as a social worker serving the homeless. Considering that, it’s probably a good thing for me this year to take a break from everything and just spend the holidays with my family. It’s a good lesson to remember for my future potentially workaholic self.
Next semester is my final semester. As such, there’s now this expectation that I should seriously start thinking about what my career and life is to be like after graduation. It’s always at the back of my mind sure and I have ideas and plans. Right now, though, I just keep putting it at the back of my mind. I don’t really want to think too deeply about that yet. Right now I just take in the moment, enjoying my holidays, and soon after cherishing my time as a student and as a social work intern. After that, who knows? But as I said, I don’t want to think about that just now.
For now, I’m quite glad to be done with my second to last semester as a MSW student.