A realistic view…

Ionia VirginIiona Virgin is a senior in the Human Services Leadership online program. She currently lives in Madison, Wis. with her husband and three children. She took a roundabout way to get to the degree program she is in. Virgin was told about this program after realizing that she wanted to be a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Social Worker after her youngest child spent her first 5 1/2 weeks in St. Mary’s NICU.

These last few weeks I have spent endless hours in meetings, on the phone and responding to emails. This is the side of human services and organizing that no one ever tells you about. Sometimes I have 3-4 meetings in one day. All of them are meaningful and are related to the my internship and my supervisor’s job, but when you think of being a Human Service Worker, sitting in meetings, making phone calls and returning and composing emails is not a part of what you envision you will be doing. Or at least it wasn’t what I envisioned when I signed up for this program.

Now please don’t assume that I am not enjoying these meetings, phone calls and emails… well maybe not the emails, I am starting to get finger cramps. But it doesn’t look like what I thought I was going to be doing once I got into the profession. In no way am I disappointed in my choice for a profession, I have just been given a realistic view of what I will really be doing on an every day basis.

I am very happy that I have been given the opportunity to do my internship with Public Health doing similar things that  I want to eventually get a paycheck for — granted my reason for getting into this field is not for the paycheck. This is the type of real world experience that everyone needs to have before they start in their career. I mean who would want to hire a doctor that has never practiced medicine before he or she became licensed? I guess what I am trying to say is, “While you are out looking for an internship to do for this program, make sure you try and find one that is closely related to what you want to do when you graduate.”

Because what you learn in the books and in the classroom are so different than what you learn in the field. Not to mention, you have a semester or two to learn whether this career choice is best for you. I have been able to learn a lot about what I want to do and what I will never do in the Human Services field, or more like what I pray I never have to do.

Here are just a few things on my list

Yes, I will do

  • Work with youth
  • Work in public health
  • Be a social worker

No, I will not do

  • Write grants… EVER  (wishful thinking!)
  • Work well with government (I know, Public Health is Government…)
  • Putting in place mandates without the will of the people behind it (Again that goes to working with Government, kind of hard to do. But I am learning all about it in my internship…)

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