Office Sign

Today was a crazy day at work, as are most of my days.

I’ve been working full-time for a little over a month now, but I’ve only been doing my actual job for a week and half, and I’ve only been doing it by myself for the last two days!

I took over this position when the current Case Manager left. She trained me for a week (last week) and starting yesterday I’ve been on my own. My department only has one Case Manager, so everything falls on me.

Today, I started out being overwhelmed and questioning why I decided to go into social work.  I had clients scheduled that day, a ton of paperwork to do (I feel like that is half of my job!) and advocacy/phone calls to make for my active clients. But when I got to work I found out that I instead had to spend an hour on the phone dealing with a difficult and unappreciative caller/client.

By the end of the call I was frustrated and stressed, feeling like I had to solve this woman’s problems and overwhelmed by the amount of work I still had to do that day in addition to helping her (and it was only 10am).

Today when I left work and closed my office door (still having a ton of work to finish tomorrow), I noticed that a new sign had been put up.

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I stood and stared at it for a few moments, then took a photo of it. When I posted it on Facebook one of my friends who is about to start her Masters degree said, “after 6 years of college your hard work has finally paid off. I bet that feels amazing to see your name followed by MSW”

And you know what, it does feel amazing. As stressful as my work can be sometimes, I am still incredibly proud of what I do and all that I have accomplished. I am 24 years old and my name is on the wall of a well-known and respected social service agency with the letters MSW after it.

I’ve accomplished one of my dreams, a dream that I have had since high school when I started thinking about my career. I have a career.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape (My Master’s Graduation)

Yesterday I graduated with my Master of Social Work degree from San Diego State University!

ImageTwo weeks ago I posted that my husband was not going to be able to attend my graduation because he was away at training. However, he talked to his higher ups and got permission to come back to base on a supply run just for a few days! He came home on Thursday morning, my graduation was Friday, and he just left today (Saturday). I could not have been happier to have him there to witness my official graduation!

Although he was only here for just a few days, it was amazing to have him home. Every time he comes home from being away it’s like a mini-honeymoon. He is my escape.

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Endings

So many things in my life have come to an end recently and I’m not handling it very well.

Yesterday was my last day of classes, which means after I turn in my last paper on Friday I will be done with graduate school. I thought I would be excited or relieved, but I’m actually kind of scared. I’ve been a student for my entire life, straight from High School to College to Graduate School. Being a student has been a part of my identity since I was 4 years old. It’s strange to think of myself as anything else. It’s scary to think of myself as a real adult.

As much as I am looking forward to not having to write any more papers or take any more exams, I am sad to leave my friends. I will no longer get to have lunch with them between class or whisper to each other during lectures. There are a few that I have gotten close to that I think I will continue to spend time with, but a lot of the people that I have gotten to know during my grad program are more of aquaintances that I will probably lose touch with.

Last Thursday was my last day at my internship. Not only was it emotional to terminate with my long-term clients, but it was hard to say goodbye to my co-workers. This is the first job that I’ve ever had where I not only liked what I was doing, but I liked the people I worked with. I got cards from all my co-workers and one from a client as well; it was so hard to leave knowing how much they appreciate me and that I am making a positive impact on my client’s lives.

Then to top it all off on Friday my husband’s Commanding Officer took all his Family Readiness Volunteers out to a going away breakfast because he is leaving. I’ve been volunteering with the command since we got here 1 1/2 years ago and I’ve gotten close with all the ladies that I work with and the CO. Out of the 6 of us, half are leaving within the next month, not including the CO. He gave us all engraved EGA necklaces and I actually teared up!

I think the reason why I am feeling so down about all these endings is because I don’t have any new beginnings.

We are PCSing in 7 months, but that is still too far away from me to anticipate right now.

I thought I would have a job to look forward to, but I have yet to be asked to interview for any positions. I’ve been applying and going to job fairs, but I’ve learned that most of the jobs that I’ve been applying to are all hiring internally. On top of that, I’ve had to start limiting my search to temporary positions because we are moving soon, which means I’m applying for jobs that I am way over qualified for. It’s depressing to think that after 6 years of college I will be someone’s secretary again. I know it’s only temporary until we move, but it’s still not the transition I had hoped to have after graduation.

I love my career and there are so many jobs out there that I would love to do. It’s depressing to not be able to get a job in my field and start my career that I’ve been working so hard towards. It’s almost embarrassing to go back to an entry level position, even if it is only temporary.

This is a time in my life that I should be excited about. I’m graduating with my MASTERS! Maybe I just need to remind myself of that, remind myself of my accomplishments and know that I have my whole life ahead of me to find the perfect job.

My graduation is next Friday, I will try to cheer myself up before then 🙂

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

Yesterday I saw on a military wives page on FB that a girl had sewn in a patch on the back of her graduation sash to represent her husband who could no be there because of deployment.

My husband missed my college graduation 2 years ago because of a deployment as well, so I know she feels. I thought her idea was really sweet, and it had never occurred to me do something like that.

I remember missing my husband a lot at my graduation. Not just because it was 5 days away from his homecoming, but because he was a huge support for me during college.

Now, as I look forward to my Master’s graduation without my husband by my side, I again think about how big of a support he has been. Not only financially supporting me through college, but by always encouraging me and pushing me to accomplish my goals. He is always bragging about me to his friends and at work, and is so proud of all that I have accomplished with my schooling.

I remember feeling like there was an empty space the day that I graduated with my bachelors. Even though my parents and siblings where there, my husband wasn’t, and I anticipate feeling that way again in 2 weeks when I graduate. By incorporating something to represent him into my graduation garb, I thought it might be a way to fill that emptiness.

So I decided to put a photo of him in my graduation cap, much like I have seen deployed soldiers do with pictures of their spouses in their covers and helmets.

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Clearly I need a new portrait of my husband, it’s been 6 years since he graduated boot camp lol

Wife to Wife Wednesday

This weeks prompt from Wives of Faith is:

How has your life changed as a military wife?

My life has changed a lot of ways since becoming a military wife. The one that is most on my mind recently, as I am about to graduate, is my career.

The military has effected my career in both a positive and negative way.

To first acknowledge the positives: being a military spouse lead me to pursue a career in social work.

I was getting my bachelors in Psychology when I met my husband, and I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduation. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school (because with a bachelors in psychology you pretty much have to), but I didn’t have a passion for any career specifically.

I went to a LINKS class after we got married (which is pretty much a class for new military spouses that explains the basics of military life) and everyone was so sweet and helpful! I ended up volunteering as a LINKS instructor and also with Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and as a Family Readiness Volunteer.

I loved the experience and I was inspired to become a military social worker.

And here I am, a month away from graduating applying like crazy to organizations like MCCS, Armed Services YMCA, USO, etc. so I can combine my experience with the military and my education as a social worker.

Now to the negatives: as most wives have probably experienced, being married to someone in the military means your career sometimes has to take a back seat.

I love being a social worker, but it requires state specific licensure, which is difficult to get when you move from state to state and each state has it’s own licensing requirements.

There is also the added difficulty in establishing a career when you move every few years.

But overall I think the positives outweigh the negatives. Yes, the moving may make it a little more difficult for me to establish a career, but it’s part of life when your husband is in the military. I love my career: I love helping people and giving back to the military community that has had such a positive impact on my life.

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My husband and I have been together for 5 years and he has been in the military for that entire time. So you would think that I would be used to the military messing up our plans.

We made it safely through our engagement and wedding without any major inconveniences thrown in the by Marine Corps, although in all fairness it was only 9 months lol.

It wasn’t until after we got married that I got to experience the whole “you can’t plan anything” aspect of military life.

We had our vow renewal planned for the year after our wedding, but Jeremy was told he was deploying so we pushed it back a year. Then, after we had told all our vendors to move the date…they changed their mind and said he wasn’t deploying, so we moved the date back up. And then they decide he was deploying so we had to push it back again. Thankfully they stuck with those orders and he did actually deploy and make it back in time for our vow renewal.

He did not however, make it back in time for my college graduation. He missed it by 5 days. 5 days!

Jeremy got back from his most recent deployment in December, which meant he was actually going to be home for my graduate school graduation. Except not. Today he came home and told me he is being sent to training for 6 weeks, leaving 2 weeks before my graduation.

You would think I would be used to it, that I could just go with the flow.

For the most part I can, I expect him to be gone a lot, to deploy and to miss important events.

But I am not sure if I will ever get used to the unknown, out of the blue, here one day gone the next, aspect of military life.

But one thing I have learned over the last 5 years of schoolings, deployments and trainings, is to always look at the positives.

I am graduating with my MASTERS degree! My parents and brother are coming down to see me graduate and support me. After 6 years of college I am finally going to be done!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

This weeks Weekly Photo Challenge is Forward.

There are many ways you could interpret this, I’ve chosen to blog about the next major event in my life that I am looking forward to: Graduation

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My undergraduate graduation, May 2011. San Diego State University

In 83 days I will be walking across the same stage that I walked across two years ago when I got my BA in Psychology.

On May 17th, I will finally have my Masters of Social Work, a goal I have been working towards for 6 years.

I love college and I love learning, but I will be a very happy woman when I have that degree in my hand and I can start my career.

I have been so lucky that Jeremy has supported me though college. I’m not sure I would have had the opportunity to go to graduate school without him. He supported me when I quit my job to pursue graduate school full time. He has always encouraged me and been my cheer leader when I’ve been swamped with papers and exams.

He missed my undergrad ceremony by 5 days when he was deployed to Afghanistan, but this year he will be up in the audience when I receive my diploma!

Looking Back and Looking Ahead (2012-2013)

Looking Back:

  • New Years 2012 – rang in the New Year at our apartment in Oceanside, CA with a kiss from my husband
  • January 2012 – started my second semester of graduate school at SDSU and moved down to San Diego when Jeremy got orders to MCAS Miramar
  • February 2012 – Celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary at Mt. Soledad, San Diego

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  • March/April – school, school, school lol
  • May 2012 – finished my first year of graduate school and spent an amazing 2 weeks of pre-deployment vacation up with my family in SF

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  • June 2012 – Said good-bye for to my husband for deployment #2.

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  • Gained a sister-in-law

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  • July 2012 – got laid off from my summer tutoring job and spent 6 weeks watching Netflix and being a bum lol
  • August 2012 – started my last year of graduate school
  • Sept/Oct/Nov – school, school, school lol
  • December 2012 – got my husband home from a 6 month deployment 🙂

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  • Turned 24 years-old
  • About to start my 17 day vacation and take a road trip to WI with my husband to see my in-laws for Christmas and New Years!

Looking Ahead: (when I started writing this I thought I would have more to say, but then I realized that most of our plans for next years are in the military’s hands, and you never know what you are going to get with them lol. So I guess this is more of a prediction, or wish list ha)

  • New Years in WI
  • January 2013 – starting my last semester of graduate school
  • February 2013 – celebrating 4 years of marriage
  • March/April – working my butt off at school and internship
  • May 2013 – Finally, after 6 years of college, I will be done! Graduating with my Masters of Social Work 🙂
  • June – October – hopefully working an awesome job in my field that pays big $$$$
  • October/November/December – Jeremy maybe being at recruiting school and possibly moving to the midwest to spend the next 2 years on recruiting finishing up his contract with the Marine Corps.

Perfectionist

I am a perfectionist.

I’ve never really noticed it much before because it has always been something that improved my life, instead of hindering it.

I did well in High School, graduated in the top 3% of my class and got accepted to variety of universities. I graduated with my BA Summa Cum Laude and went right on to get my Masters. I’ve never been fired from a job, I am a good employee who follows through with all tasks, is punctual and hard working.

But yesterday I realized that sometimes it can be a hindrance.

For the first time I working in a field that it outside my comfort zone. No matter how many classes I take in graduate school, it takes experience to learn how to be a good therapist. Talking about working with clients and watching videos of therapy is a completely different experience than actually sitting with a person.

So I make mistakes. And I HATE it. I am so hard myself, like I should somehow know exactly what to say and exactly what to do. Because for most of my life, I have. College isn’t that complicated, you go to class, do your homework and you’ll pass the class. Take the right amount of classes and you’ll get a degree. It’s not rocket science!. But therapy, that’s rocket science lol.

I’m trying to take it in stride though and not be as hard on myself now that I’m aware that I am such a perfectionist. Even though I would like to be perfect at my job (or as close to it as I can) some things can only be learned through experience. So every choice I make and every session I have teaches me what to do or what not to do in the future. And someday I will be an awesome therapist 🙂