Grad School or Bust
(Continued from 1)
I have enjoyed the best debates and great insight
with my evening pals. I cannot say that I had the same
experience with my daytime peers. The other thing I
have valued was the opportunity to meet people working
in the various fields of social work. In my former position,
I served families or elderly. Through conversations
with the evening students, I have learned about the
other fields. I have heard their opinions about the
population, the pitfalls they encounter and their ability
to cope and/or make the difference.
Another obstacle I encountered during this process
was facing my own demons and personal history. Proudly
this wounded healer attempted to show up
for several volunteer projects. Try as hard as I did,
I found my own woundings still bleeding
interfering with my delivery of services. Also I found
my history to be a challenge when seeking out an internship
placement. Agencies I was interested in serving were
not interested in me because of my history. Some program
managers were afraid of me bleeding all the clients.
So what did I do? I stopped to deal with any unresolved
issues. In some cases, I was not able to finish the
task, postponing it until I had become centered again.
In other cases, I simply limped across the finish line.
As a non-traditional student, I have learned to accept
the less than perfect performance. Life circumstances,
past and present do not always afford you the 100 percent
Which brings me to the most valuable lesson I have
learned: it is a process. When I first came to college,
I thought "I will go through the program, get
my ticket (degree) punched, and be free to conquer the
world." I never understood that this quest
would dig deep down into my being, my psyche, my ego,
my past, my present, my future. I never realized that
it would break my intellect, my self-identity and re-form
me as a broken vessel, ground to dirt, watered clay,
returned to the potter's wheel for another turn.
Years ago, I approached my professor to assist me with
gaining employment at the college. Positive I could
do a certain job, I pressed the professor for a recommendation.
Graciously, the professor explained that the position
required a bachelors degree which I had not yet
obtained. I dont remember the balance of the conversation
but only his words, Its a process.
Oh, how I had hated those words at the moment he said
them to me. However, I have grown to appreciate them.
I have chosen the process of higher education to transform
me so I may be of greater value to myself and others.
I choose to think of each credit hour, each quarter
as my steps towards self-mastery within the scope of
serving that purpose. The field of social work lends
me that ability to serve a greater good. So through
the process, I remain, grad school or bust.
Enjoying life as an empty nester, author Larraine Johnson
is resting from over thirty years of parenting. She attends
Ohio State University seeking her Master's in Social Work
and resides in Columbus, Ohio with her West Highland Terrier,