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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,<br><br>
I am having a terrible time deciding what to do with my life. My college major is Psychology, but I am very short on cash so I didn't want to do a PHD program. Instead, I decided to do an MSW (Masters of Social Work). Things I like about this path is that the degree is fairly easy (I am awful at Math) and it is a flexible job with lots of directions you can go in and flexible hours as well.<br><br>
However, I don't feel challenged by this path, and I've always wanted to work in healthcare. I started thinking about doing nursing, with the end goal of being a Nurse Practitioner. The problem is, we don't have a nursing program at the school I go to, and I would have to transfer to another school. This school costs more money but I have a lot of friends there and I know I would have a lot of fun. I am already a junior in college and no matter what I will be a 5th year senior. I am worried about doing nursing because the hours are crazy and I have to take classes like Chemistry and Stats. I already flunked Chemistry once this semester. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/no.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":no:"><br><br>
I am really stressed about this and I feel like its making me depressed. Help!
 
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i'd personally stick with the social work, especially if i didn't like things like chemistry. i think working as a nurse is going to involve a fair bit of maths and chemistry on a daily basis.<br><br><br><br>
with a social work degree you can move in lots of directions to do with 'helping people' - including but not limited to healthcare (social work is a really broad field- i know someone doing a social work degree who is helping a village of abused women in africa build and maintain new lives, and other people who work with kids, the elderly, at risk groups, young mums, etc, in loads of different areas related to health, addiction recovery, life skills, career planning, in schools, prisions, hospitals, etc), where as with a nursing degree you can go in lots of directions that are generally based in 'helping people healthwise' but not too far out of that bracket, as far as i know.<br><br><br><br>
perhaps you'd benefit from shadowing some people working in both careers, before making a choice, that way you'd see what both fields are really like and get a feel for what'd suit you best.<br><br><br><br>
i'd try not to factor in what my friends are doing, and where they are, too. i know its tempting to be swayed by that, but you can have fun with them outta school, right?<br><br><br><br>
if my course wasn't challenging me, i'd think about look into adding things on that did challenge me... can you do additional credits in nutrition, healthcare, working in medical environments, workign with people with mental or physical needs, etc... or something like that?<br><br><br><br>
did you talk to your tutors/someone in school, and work out what exactly isn't challenging you, and look at ways to change that, before changing your course?<br><br><br><br>
i guess its about making the choice that feels right now, but one wich is based in somethign you enjoy, would be good at, and which'll work for you long term. there is always the option of getting the degree you choose now, working in the field you like now, and then retraining down the line, too. who knows what you might want to do in 10 years time! what ever you choose, don't feel like its set in stone and that thats what you'll be doing forever.<br><br><br><br>
eta: i'd quit working out what to do 'with your life'. i'm nearly 30 and have no clue what i want to do with my life... my mum is 60, and while qualified as a teacher, has done loads of different jobs, and worked in loads of different fields, and still doesn't know what she wants to do with hers! go with working out what you'd like to try in your life, instead!
 

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I am two weeks and one semester away from my MSW. I also work for the Social Work dept. at my University, and give informational session for perspective MSW students.<br><br><br><br>
In what respect do you not feel challenged by Social Work? Is it the classwork? Because working with people, especially people who require social services, is EXTREMELY challenging! Many clients are in desperate need of care but very resistant to having it. People with severe mental illness often refuse to take their medications. People with addiction problems are not willing to quit regardless of what situation their addiction has got them into. Parents just want YOU to "fix" their children in under an hour together a week, but then don't want to do anything on their end to make permanent changes for their children. Working with these people is challenging to the point where social work has a very high burnout rate. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to be a social worker and not crack under the pressure. I find it very rewarding and interesting work.<br><br><br><br>
Feel free to ask more specific questions if you have them. My honest best recommendation to you is to take a few years off after undergrad and get some work/life experience under your belt before you go on to a graduate program. Don't let the fear of being out of school push you into a grad program you may not be ready for. In addition, you say you don't have a lot of money, so why don't you work and save for a while before digging yourself into a bigger debt hole in graduate school? Also, it is more respected if you do not do your undergraduate and graduate work at the same institution. (This is coined "Academic Incest" and generally frowned upon in academia)
 

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If you don't like math, nursing is probably not for you. Nursing programs are heavy on math and very, very challanging and competitive. My sister was considering nursing but instead is going to be a medical assistant because there was too much math involved in the nursing program and she knew it.<br><br><br><br>
Social work is VERY challanging. Probably one of the hardest jobs out there, to be honest. Rabid_child congrats to you, if only the world had more people like you!!! We need good social workers!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks everyone. I have no problem with competitive and challenging, I just stink really bad at math. I feel like...all the academic work needed for nursing is just not particularly interesting to me. I think I would be good at both careers, but I am so far thinking of doing the MSW, at least for now.
 

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Just to add my two cents... I'm not an MSW, but I'm in my last semester (internship) of my Master's degree in Counseling, and we work closely with social workers... I can see your point in saying that the degree is "easy" (mathwise), however, emotionally and career-wise it may be even more challenging than nursing. Both fields are difficult and emotionally draining, but in social work and anything in the community you see lot of real injustice firsthand and are working for not only individuals, but for a better community as a whole.<br><br><br><br>
Anyway I guess my point is, don't think that social work is going to be EASY (I'm sure alot of social workers would be insulted!), and just because you choose it does not mean you're copping out or taking the simpler path. Working in the community and in mental health is very noble.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>rabid_child</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I am two weeks and one semester away from my MSW. I also work for the Social Work dept. at my University, and give informational session for perspective MSW students.<br><br><br><br>
In what respect do you not feel challenged by Social Work? Is it the classwork? Because working with people, especially people who require social services, is EXTREMELY challenging! Many clients are in desperate need of care but very resistant to having it. People with severe mental illness often refuse to take their medications. People with addiction problems are not willing to quit regardless of what situation their addiction has got them into. Parents just want YOU to "fix" their children in under an hour together a week, but then don't want to do anything on their end to make permanent changes for their children. Working with these people is challenging to the point where social work has a very high burnout rate. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to be a social worker and not crack under the pressure. I find it very rewarding and interesting work.<br><br><br><br>
Feel free to ask more specific questions if you have them. My honest best recommendation to you is to take a few years off after undergrad and get some work/life experience under your belt before you go on to a graduate program. Don't let the fear of being out of school push you into a grad program you may not be ready for. In addition, you say you don't have a lot of money, so why don't you work and save for a while before digging yourself into a bigger debt hole in graduate school? Also, it is more respected if you do not do your undergraduate and graduate work at the same institution. (This is coined "Academic Incest" and generally frowned upon in academia)</div>
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I totally agree with you there-- I'm working on my LPC and I took about a year and a half off after undergrad (I got my BA in 2 and a half years)... it probably could have been a longer break, to be honest, because this workis challenging and emotionally stressful, but more rewarding than probably any other career path I could have chosen.<br><br><br><br>
What is your field of specialization? My interests and expertise are with low income children and adolescents, specifically childhood traumatic grief. When I finish my internship at a local high school in the spring I'm going to be working on a school counseling license to better target that population. It's neat to find other people in the community social sciences!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I really did mean the educational requirements. In NO WAY did I mean that social work itself was easy- in fact, that was one of my concerns, that it might be really, really stressful. But I have a lot of hope that deep down I will know my work is worthwhile and despite the difficulty, I can feel good about my job. I am leaning even more towards the MSW- so this is definitely helping me decide.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>mslinzyann</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I really did mean the educational requirements. In NO WAY did I mean that social work itself was easy- in fact, that was one of my concerns, that it might be really, really stressful. But I have a lot of hope that deep down I will know my work is worthwhile and despite the difficulty, I can feel good about my job. I am leaning even more towards the MSW- so this is definitely helping me decide.</div>
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I think you'll enjoy the work... make sure you join professional organizations and stuff as a student (first of all it's cheaper, haha!) and take advantage of ANY resources that educate you about self-care... The burnout rate in community work is so high, especially if you work with risky populations (abused kids, etc.) so you have to really be adept at taking care of yourself.<br><br><br><br>
Good luck with whatever you choose!
 

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I second the suggestion to job-shadow people in several professions before making your decision.<br><br><br><br>
You're not locked-in once you decide, either. Yeah, it may be simpler to work in one profession for many years, the profession you went to school for, but these days, more and more people are changing professions mid-stream.
 

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We refer to the work in the MSW program not as "difficult" but as "a lesson in time management." oof!
 
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