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Why I Want To Study At Columbia’s School Of Social Work

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For as long as I could remember, becoming an attorney was the only option I saw for myself. It was not until my participation in the Belle Harris Bennett Fellowship program that I questioned this choice. The program was designed to equip and sustain young women to become leaders committed to social justice and to engage oppression with intersectionality, while also exploring spirituality and self-care for sustainable leadership. It was meant to be a gap-year opportunity, knowing I needed a break from the stressors of school. I was also still grieving the death of mom who passed the summer of 2013. It turned out to be an even greater period of self-reflection and discovery than I could imagine. Based on my engagement with the program, the leader Marie presented the idea for me to attend divinity school. Though interested, I was still not set on the idea.

More recently I contemplated even greater whether law school was the right choice, and I did not see it aligning with my passions and the greater impact I wanted to have on the individual well-being of people. I also felt a greater call to ministry, but in what capacity would this look like? I began researching programs and it was then I was sold on obtaining a divinity degree, but also discovered that a Master’s of Social Work would provide the foundation needed to fulfill my desired purpose.

Columbia’s School of Social Work is a leader in its field and will allow me to fully be immersed in the study of social work. Located in one of the most diverse and vibrant cities of the world, I will have the opportunity to engage with many ethnicities and cultures and connect with those representing different intersections of life. The concentration and practice options will allow me to directly focus my study in the ways needed to make my career goals a reality. And because of Columbia’s focus on field education, I will put what I have learned into practice and gain the skills needed to directly serve the real world. One of the most important aspects that drew me to the program was the ability to obtain a dual divinity degree. Having both degrees will allow me to develop the relational and counseling skills needed to expand ministry beyond the church and be able to bring a faith-based perspective to social justice work.

Once I have completed the dual degree program, I would like to either become a licensed clinical social worker in order to provide mental health services to the most vulnerable populations, those fighting for social justice, and those suffering through grief or work in a community organizing and program planning compacity. Eventually, I hope to open my own nonprofit in order to provide mental health and spiritual support services to activists and to provide training for future activists. I am confident that pursuing my education at Columbia will grant me the space to make waves, move mountains, and change lives.

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