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Homeless and Military Social Work Focus; Graduate Admissions USC

kissters20 1 / -  
Aug 28, 2012   #1
Please help. I turned this in to my admissions counselor and he said the flow was not right. I would really like some help!
Here is the list of the guildline questions...
The social work profession is based upon a set of core values. How have you incorporated social work values in your human service experiences and interactions with others?

What significant relationships and life experiences have you had in giving or receiving help that have motivated you to enter the field of social work?

The USC School of Social Work prepares students to prevent and mitigate severe social problems, which challenge the viability of multifaceted diverse populations. Discuss your experiences with and feelings about working with populations different from your own.

The USC School of Social Work is dedicated to providing excellent graduate education for people destined to create social change. What social welfare areas interest you and why? What social problem(s) most concerns you that might be addressed with an MSW

Discuss your undergraduate/graduate academic experience and include a description of your academic strengths and weaknesses. Please explain any grade deficiencies and what you have done to improve them?

"And Homeless near a thousand homes I stood. And near a thousand tables pined and wanted food." ~William Wordsworth
Sitting in a coffee shop, I gaze across the room to the woman who is snoring in her chair. She is wearing rags and the bags next to her are full to the brim with her belongings. It is obvious she has not taken a shower in a few days. Next to her in the corner are two men with a similar appearance, talking diligently about how the government has deliberately failed them. As the men stand up to leave, I recognize the bag that one of them is holding and the boots he is wearing. They are standard military issue. I begin to wonder what brought each of them to that point and if anyone has attempted to help them at all.

I too had struggled during portions of my young-adult life, ending up homeless and hopeless at times. It was even more difficult being a single mother of two small children. While the issues that brought me to that point are important, what is more important is what I did after realizing my mistakes. I picked myself up. I decided to learn from my life's lessons. And I made a conscious effort to make better decisions in the long run. I utilized my state's welfare program to help me until I could get back on my feet.

Then, I joined the military in 2005 at the age of 25. It changed my life around. It provided me with an income, a home, and stability. Unfortunately I spent many hours in the court room between my trainings trying to fight for the visitations and custody of my children. I did not get custody because the courts thought that their father provided a more stable environment, but I appreciated the efforts and the considerations the social workers and mediators took for the welfare of my children.

For four and a half years I traveled the world, living in Germany, visiting many of the European countries, as well as Mexico, Canada, Haiti and Jamaica. I also spent 15 months in Iraq and Kuwait. I learned a lot about the cultures I visited and was often appalled at some of the living conditions facing some of the less fortunate countries. I immersed myself in the study of various cultures, religious beliefs, and lifestyles.

Once my military contract was finished, I decided to go to college full-time. From the time I was a little girl I had always wanted to understand the inner workings of people and help them. I had already obtained a certification in massage therapy in 2003, but I wanted to help people on a larger scale. I decided that psychology would be my first field of choice.

I completed my Associates degree in Psychology at the University of Phoenix Axia (online) campus with a 3.6GPA. After some research, I found that a Bachelor's in Psychology would not get me a job in most states, so I changed my major to Human Services. Keeping a 3.6GPA throughout my BHS program enabled me to do double full-time classes. I have been generally pleased with my grades except for one class where I got a C because I had forgotten to turn in my final. Since then I have taken extra precautions to ensure that it never happens again. As team leader for a majority of my classes, I honed my leadership and organizational skills.

At this point in my life I have a passion for helping various groups. I chose the Social Work field because it is rounded in its approach to assisting others. While I have many interests that lay within the Social Work field, I am most familiar with three groups: homeless, military families, and/or veterans.

I currently live in Hawaii where many of the homeless live right in the middle of the streets or on the beaches. It can be a disturbing sight. For Christmas, instead of presents, my husband and I went and purchased enough food for a mass barbeque and drove out to a park where we fed the homeless for the day. We often run into homeless people while we are out for dinner or drinks and end up in conversation with them, buying them dinner. Each action is a small gesture, but I feel that it's a step in the right direction.

The military is made up of a melting pot of people in various stages making the American military 'society' one of the most diverse groups on the planet. My time in the military taught me a lot about how much both the individuals and the family struggle. Individuals must deal with the stress placed on them during training and wartime situations and constant struggle of trying to maintain healthy relationships. As a military spouse I also learned a lot about the struggles of the family. Families are constantly moved, missing their loved ones because of training or deployments, and always submersed into different cultures and new circumstances.

Even after getting out of the military I faced several challenges as a veteran. Many veterans face social ridicule for their services and I have found situations where there is more bias than support for these veterans. In addition, veterans often have tough times handling inter-personal relationships, adjusting to the civilian world, the work environment, and dealing with the actions and changes that overcame them during their time in service.

No matter which direction my road leads me down, I know that information and support are the keys to success. It is essential that knowledge be passed from one person to another to encourage awareness and competence. Recognizing that each decision has a potential positive outcome but also requires hard work and sacrifice will help people choose a path that is right for them. Like the military, the core values of social work set the foundation to provide a purposeful and moral drive.

There is an old saying "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" (Tzu, n.d.). It is my intent to help teach those that desire to take control of their own lives and get back up on their feet again. As a realist and rationalist, I realize that everyone does not desire the means to take care of themselves; but if I can even help one person realize their dreams, I will have fulfilled my purpose.

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