Jessica Feeley: Why Social Work

 

Hello friends, my name is Jessica Feeley, and I’m a full time MSW student at the Tulsa campus. I was born and raised in a small town in Illinois, just Northeast of St. Louis. Being a student blogger was an opportunity I jumped at when the opportunity arose. I’ve been blogging since 8th grade, though I wish the torture of reading those blogs on no one. If you can think back to your middle school days, you’ll remember the emotional whirlwinds and friends in turmoil. It was in those early years though that I found my place: to encourage and support friends who were going through hard times. From flaky boyfriends to self-harm, there was always someone who needed a listening ear, which contributed to my career interests.

After graduating from the University of Tulsa with a degree in Psychology, I traveled for a year with a program called the World Race. We lived in a different country each month and partnered with a local ministry where we served. This gave me an abundance of experiences that I now draw strength and encouragement from. Teaching English, caring for orphans, going into the Red Light District, and living out of a backpack away from everything I knew broke me down and built me back up stronger. It was while on this trip that I decided to pursue a degree in Social Work. I was in a village of Nepal, outside of Kathmandu, where we had spotty internet. I spent the whole month researching different degree programs that could lead to counseling. I ended up deciding Social Work was the best choice for me because of the broad scope of work I could do with an MSW. After returning to America, I worked inpatient adolescent mental health until I began school.

During my first semester, we were assigned a rather large research paper on an oppressed population of our choosing. I decided to study refugees because I knew nothing about the problems they face in their home countries and in the USA. It was the best decision I made, along with prioritizing School Social Work for my foundation year practicum. Both were things I knew very little about before I began. My advice to future and current students is to branch out from topics and experiences you are comfortable with. You may just be surprised at what you learn about the world and yourself.

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