In April of 2020, I passed my LSW licensure exam and graduated from Taylor the following month. In June of 2020, I began my post-graduate studies at The Ohio State University in the MSW Advanced Standing Accelerated Program. During graduate school, I worked part-time at Columbus Springs, a drug and alcohol rehab hospital, and interned at Riverside Methodist Hospital. I received my Master's in Social Work in June of 2021 and was immediately employed full-time as a medical social worker. I work full-time for Capital City Hospice in Columbus, Ohio as a medical social worker, and part-time in the same capacity at The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, which is one of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center hospitals.
I cannot imagine a better school than Taylor University for undergraduate studies. There are so many unique and wonderful experiences to be enjoyed at TU, it is hard to pick only a few. After much wrestling with this task, I chose my top two as opportunities and community. I was blessed to work as a PA my sophomore year and with Crew my junior year. In each of these roles, I was afforded opportunities to both serve others and develop leadership skills. It was a privilege to serve the girls on my floor and to welcome prospective students and share with them my passion for Taylor. Studying abroad in Greece and Italy and participating in Spring Break Missions on two trips to the Dominican Republic were other valuable experiences that expanded my comfort zone and enhanced my worldview. For me, community is the single best word to describe Taylor. On countless occasions, I was the recipient of genuine, intentional care from staff, faculty, peers, and mentors. These people were interested in me and eager to come alongside me to celebrate my successes and support me when I struggled. I felt loved and valued and important. An important element of Taylor community is chapel. It is an inspiring, encouraging, powerful thing to witness an entire campus voluntarily come together three times weekly to corporately worship our Lord and Savior. To this day, I still miss these moments when the stressors and demands of life were briefly suspended to focus our attention on God and uplifting one another.
The Social Work curriculum prepared me well for both my licensure exam, graduate school, and my career. I passed my LSW exam before I graduated and I had already done some of the projects I encountered in the MSW program in my undergraduate program at Taylor. Coursework at Taylor was more than checking a box; it had an immediate and direct application in my profession, particularly in areas such as psychosocial assessments, the cycle of poverty, trauma-informed care, and ethics. The Social Work faculty were essential in my development as a social worker. Their practical experiences and investment in students is what makes the Social Work program at Taylor stand out. They modeled professional behavior, compassion, and accountability, while teaching students to hone their skills in areas such as listening, critical thinking, and assessment. The professors taught us the importance of self-care to combat professional burnout and empowered us to be agents of change and advocates for the disenfranchised all while maintaining our Christian values.
Because a liberal arts education exposes students to a wide variety of subjects and philosophies, it has been beneficial to me in my career. I am able to engage with clients and their family members in several different areas to establish rapport. In addition, the cultural diversity at Taylor in both the student body and coursework afforded me familiarity with the customs of other nationalities and religions to better serve these populations.
To anyone contemplating Social Work as their major, I would highly recommend this field. It is a blessing to come alongside someone in their hour of need or at a low point in their life, and support those individuals. If a student has a passion for helping others, even if they do not yet know in what capacity they would like to serve, I would encourage them to pursue Social Work for several reasons. One, there is a need for social workers, so employment opportunities abound. Two, Social Work is a licensed, accredited profession that endeavors to provide a standard of care that precludes crossover from degrees in similar disciplines, so the degree is marketable. Three, there is a wide diversity in the type of Social Work roles in which to serve, and four, there are a plethora of opportunities for professional growth and advancement within those Social Work roles.