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    2013 Spring
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  1. It's impossible to ever see things objectively or without some level of bias. That's just the reality of being a human. We never completely leave our opinions at the door. Rather, you learn the ethics and values of the profession in social work school and you start to strive to reach them. You start to recognize your values, biases, and the situations in which you make judgments that would be detrimental to the client. Sometimes you do really well with a client and other times you are actively struggling in your mind trying to maintain a nonjudgmental attitude. It's a lifelong practice. Maybe you are so opinionated because you care so much? What would you consider to be stupidity? Being a social worker doesn't mean you stop questioning things and judging. You can "call people out" in this work, but the important things are why, when, and how you do it. I worry more about you feeling as if social work school is the only way to not be stuck. I encourage you to think more about your options and why social work. Grad school is an investment in multiple levels and you will definitely want to know once you become a student.
  2. I would rank field work as most important for your future career. I heard this a lot coming in and it's been reflected as the school year progresses. Most of the content I've learned thus far has been in the field.
  3. It depends on what good means to you. I started by looking at the US News & World Report. That gave me names of schools in states that I was interested in. From there, I visited each school's website, requested materials, and when possible attended school events. My final step was making a list of schools that I was highly interested in and contacted the admissions teams. They were able to provide me with contact information of students and alumni so that I could determine if the school might be a good fit for me. For most schools, I finished this process after receiving my acceptance letters.
  4. I was clarifying a point that was made earlier, in which you stated that a scooter is a step-through, 50cc and up and requires a motorcycle license in the US. That is incorrect information. It very much is about the varying definitions of scooter, moped, motorcycle of each state, no disagreement there. I am less interested in the actual varying definitions and more so just highlighting that these varying definitions lead to varying requirements in the states. I am also not really interested in what dealerships can or cannot do in the state of CA (as I already have my scooter), but I am a proponent of test riding prior to purchasing regardless of the requirements.
  5. A motorcycle endorsement isn't required in every state to drive a scooter. The state I purchased my scooter in did not require it. Now that I'm in CA, it's required and I'm in the process of getting it. For right now I have the permit, which limits me to only driving during the day. Check out Genuine Scooters. They have a variety of engine sizes, models, and are very well made. You can even visit modernbuddy.com to talk to other owners, get advice, and more. I have a 50cc and drive throughout Berkeley and go up and down hills en route to school/home. I do slow down going uphill. How much depends on what it's in my backpack. I get about 90 mpg, but that is also dependent on various variables. The company typically says 100mpg. I've been riding for several years now and it's been a great vehicle, especially in the city landscape. I wasn't sure if I was going to bring my scooter with me, but I'm sure glad I did. Test ride before you purchase. I was able to do this, but that's because the state didn't require the M endorsement. DO NOT take your safety for granted. I have a lot of gear from Corazzo, including a padded jacket. Most people wonder why I wear such a serious jacket or big helmet. My response is always that I love my life, I love my limbs, and I'd like to maintain all of that. I also don't wear sandals on my scooter. I did take the safety course on my scooter, which helped me get more familiar and comfortable on it when I first made the purchase.
  6. Great ideas posted above. I would second all of it, especially the idea of doing mock job hunts now. In an ideal situation, what job would you have? Find several ideal jobs and then check out the requirements.
  7. Most people that post on here asking about their chances of getting into grad school don't need to worry and that includes you. Though it's grad school, social work schools tend to be far less competitive than other programs. I think you have a great chance at those schools, but I would recommend that you apply to a mix, same advice most of us received when we were applying to college. Choose some 'reach' and then some 'safe'. Seriously, even if you get into all of them, it just creates a peace of mind during the wait process. Also, write superb essays!
  8. Having an iPad has been super helpful! I previously used it as a toy prior to enrolling in grad school, now it's my main tool. Without it I would be lost in a sea of books, paper articles, and massive readers. I can highlight, post stickies, create text boxes, handwrite or type notes, and back it all up with my dropbox. It's also super customizable with various fonts, colors and settings. I only need access to the internet if I want to upload something to my iPad or auto-sync with my dropbox. If I really want to print it all, I can. If I want to search it on my ipad or computer, I can. I also really appreciate it because I'll have access to it forever. I've let go of so many books and all of my articles from previous educational experiences mainly because it was too much to haul through each move. Now I get to keep it all, including my annotations, for future reference. If I do buy a book, it's because I want it on my shelf through thick and thin, haha. This semester, the only book that received that status was the DSM. I thought I was a paper person, but I guess not. Paper seems too tedious and inefficient; and consequently, quite an investment in various aspects. It took a month of grad school to try this new system out to convince me though. I started with only partially investing in the digital route. Next semester will be completely digital. I can't believe this wasn't available during undergrad!
  9. If you do apply, you have to explain what caused the low GPA in your essay. Not everyone does well in college the first time around. Social work admissions boards tend to be aware of that, but do expect that you self-assess. If you think you're ready, convince them that you're ready and show some evidence of more recent accomplishments.
  10. Great comments have already been posted, but I'll add that you should do some research of your own. Contact USC and ask them to connect you with 2-3 current students as well as 2-3 alums. Contact those current students and alums and ask them about the quality, prestige, and worth of USC's social work program. Don't be afraid to be direct. I did this and received such incredible feedback. As a result I was able to make some hard decisions (in hindsight, should have been easy because there's no way I would even consider debt now) and went into my program with open eyes. It did take time to have that many separate conversations, but I also saved myself USC tuition. A great bargain in my eyes!
  11. For Social Policy: American Social Welfare Policy Dimensions of Social Welfare Policy Transformations of the Welfare State We don't have a textbook' for our Ethics course.
  12. I think 1-2 years of relevant direct service experience should be enough. You want to have something to write about in your essays, especially if you plan on writing scholarship essays. I know people who have been accepted into each of the programs you listed and are within that range of professional experience. The acceptance rates at social work schools are pretty high compared to other graduate programs. USC has one of the highest, they accept a lot of people. Maybe because they get turned down a lot because tuition is so high and financial aid is so low? Just speculating on that front.
  13. I'm pretty giddy right now. I want to get as much as I can out of the next two years. I'm excited about the journey and the destination. My field placement starts in a few weeks and I can't believe I'm going to be in a room, with a client, and running a therapy session. Finally!!
  14. I would second this book. It's on my kindle and I read it before applying as well as referred to it throughout the process.
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