Student Blogger - Kate Quinton

 

Hello everyone!  Okay so I am new to this whole blog thing so bear with me please! I believe my instructions were to introduce myself and provide some general information about my experiences in the program in this first post, so here it goes.  I am a full-time MSW/MPA student in the 60 hour MSW program on the Tulsa campus.  I started the MSW program last fall and decided to add the Public Administration degree (because two years just wasn't enough).  Therefore, I am looking at the Spring of 2017 for graduation.  For my first practicum, I was in the Child Welfare Field Unit, which means I rotated between four locations (the Children's Advocacy Center, Tulsa Drug Court, Child Welfare and the National Resource Center for Youth Services) spending 8 weeks at each site.  This was an incredible opportunity to experience an overview of many of the different systems that impact children, particularly those in state custody.  If you are still trying to figure out your first placement, I would highly suggest a field unit.  I believe they provide a necessary foundation for future development and learning.

My concentration is Administration and Community Practice, and I start my concentration year this fall.  For me the choice between ACP and DP was quite simple, as the primary reason I decided on the MSW program because of the ACP concentration.  In terms of the development of my ACP practicum placement, it has been a much different experience.  I am really interested in policy development and advocacy as well as non-profit administration.  The original practicum placement I had planned did not work out, so in a panic I reached out to some professors looking for suggested locations.  In some sort of miracle and out of nowhere the opportunity to be placed at the YWCA Tulsa landed in my lap.  So essentially, it was all part of my genius plan and quite deliberate on my part.  In all seriousness (or as much as I can muster) I am beyond thrilled with this placement and believe it is going to provide an invaluable opportunity to work alongside an experienced professional in a role that I would aspire for.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with the incoming 60 hour students at the orientation regarding the dual degree program.  One of the concerns that seemed to resonate with many students (including myself as I sat in those seats a year ago) was regarding the ability to balance family, work, school and everything else life graciously throws our way.  Well I certainly do not have it all figured out (so if you do please let me know); however, I have figured out a few things that seem to work well for me.  I am obsessive about my calendar and swear by Outlook.  I love being able to color code my schedule and I plan my day from the time I get up until the time I go to bed.  Yes I am serious, I even get alerts to remind me to go to bed.  I schedule out everything in my life, study time, class, practicum, drive time, time with my husband, time for a bubble bath and a good book, well you get the idea.  At any rate this allows me to enjoy and be efficient with every moment and takes away most of the worry about when I am going to get my reading done and when I am going to get that paper written.  The biggest lessons I’ve learned thus far in the program have been to stay organized, be flexible and take care of myself.  Much easier said than done, but I am constantly working on it.  I encourage all new students to get connected and to reach out to other students, faculty and staff.  That has certainly made all the difference in my experiences over the last year.  I hope that everyone has a great start to the year!  I will leave you with some words I live by "coffee keeps me going until it's time for wine."


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