Although each person undoubtedly shares some similarities with others, there are no two people that think exactly alike in this world. The most important values that I strive to follow on a daily basis are hard work, appreciation of diversity, and the willingness to listen and learn. My parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico when they were adults. They encountered many hardships in an environment and society to which they were not accustomed. Throughout the decades, they struggled in order to be able to provide for themselves and, later on, for me and my brother. At a very young age, the concepts of hard work and being productive were ingrained into me. As a result, I view that any difficult circumstance can be improved upon through diligence and dedication. My parents also endured prejudice and judgement from others simply because of where they came from, not because of who they are as individuals. I feel strongly that people’s differences should be valued and celebrated. I think that progress can always be made if it can be understood that everyone is deserving of dignity and respect. I must admit that I was a very stubborn person for a portion of my life. I always wanted to do things my way because I believed it was the only way that truly worked. As years have gone by, however, I have come to realize that there is always knowledge to gain from others. One should never be satisfied with what they already know because there is always something new to learn if they are only willing to listen. I apply this value to all aspects of my life, whether it be school, work, hobbies, etc. My own experiences and background have played a direct role in developing my beliefs and the values that guide me in how I live my life.
There have been moments in my life where my family and I have faced difficulties and setbacks from which I worried we would not be able to recover. However, the members of the local community, including volunteers, were always willing to show compassion and provide the necessary support to help my family make it through troubling times. Volunteering is an opportunity to give back and commit to the community that I and so many others rely on. Therefore, I have partaken in volunteer work in a variety of organizations and with an assortment of people. In the summer of 2017, I was a VolunTeen at Tennova Hospital. I spent my time there volunteering in the Emergency Room, the Intensive Care Unit, and Labor and Delivery. In spring 2018, I was an active member of Austin Peay State University’s Habitat for Humanity and participated in services such as Habitat ReStore Volunteer Day, where I and other volunteers helped organize, clean, and set up donations for the store. I have been a member of the Social Work Club at Austin Peay since spring 2018, and I am serving as the club’s treasurer for the 2018-2019 school year. Throughout my time within the Social Work Club, I have offered my services at many events here in Clarksville, including the Children’s Memorial Garden Ceremony, the Department of Children’s Services Easter Event, and the Little Govs Child Learning Center Fall Festival. As the Treasurer of the Social Work Club, I have also taken part in planning, alongside the other officers, numerous activities that include fundraisers, a hygiene drive, university events such as GHOST, and adopting a child for Christmas, providing them with presents. In the winter of 2018, I also volunteered at the Clarksville Public Library, where I helped check in books and shelved them. The diverse organizations I have volunteered with have allowed me to genuinely experience and get to understand the various facets of my community and the people who make it up. In addition, my history with volunteering has led me to gaining invaluable knowledge and skills in working in these areas and with others.
My introduction to social work occurred at a young age. My mother attained a Bachelor of Social Work degree and pursued said career while she lived in Mexico. Although she left her career as a social worker in the United States in order to take care of me and my brother, I still remember that she would always be the person anybody with a problem would come to in order to receive advice and guidance. She is always willing to lend a hand to anybody in need, whether that be family and friends, people who attend her church, or even complete strangers. She does everything she can in order to assist them, and when she can no longer do anything else, she directs them to the resources that can provide further aid. She may no longer officially be part of the social work field, but she still maintains the spirit of the profession, always wanting to ensure the well-being of those around her. Those very qualities are what made me always look up to my mother and instilled within me the desire to emulate such behavior. In addition to my mother, social work and social workers have always been present in my life or in the life of those close to me in some manner. My extended family and I have had encounters with social workers in schools, non-profit organizations, social welfare agencies, and other departments. It is social work’s fundamental devotion to the betterment of others and society as a whole that interested me. I regard social work as one of the few fields that allows you to make a direct impact on people’s lives in such a meaningful manner, whether that be on an individual, local, or even national level. Social work also does not restrict a person to only working with one population or only one issue. I hope to become a social worker in order to be able to try to make a difference in people’s lives, just as I have personally experienced and seen happen with others.
Every person carries within them certain attributes that they can utilize in numerous aspects of their life. I believe that I hold a number of personal qualities that go hand-in-hand with the core values and beliefs of the social work field. For example, I am a very dependable individual. People can rely upon me and trust that I will stay true to my word and do what is asked of me to the best of my ability. Others can view me as a dependable friend, classmate, and employee. Being someone that others can trust and find reliable is a quality that I consider to be part of the social work value of integrity. I also see myself as someone who is always willing to help others, a quality that goes together with social work’s core value of service. Lending one’s time and resources to others, I believe, is one of the most important duties each person holds in this world. I try to be helpful in every part of my life, whether that be in school, work, through volunteering, or simply in every day interactions. I am also a person who is very self-disciplined. I am careful about my time management, making sure I am able to accomplish all tasks related to my academic career, job, and other responsibilities even when it is not the most exciting experience for me. I feel that self-discipline is something that will be very beneficial for me in the social work field, where I will need to fulfill multiple duties that may become overwhelming at times. I intend to use these personal strengths and skills in order to perform as adeptly and competently as possible as a social worker.
In addition to qualities that may be considered useful and advantageous, people also often possess traits that may not always be suitable for some situations or environments. Something that I need to better is my ability to be team oriented. I view myself as a person who is very self-reliant and independent. I am used to working and finishing projects on my own. In the field of social work, however, one has to be able to express their ideas with others, whether that be other social workers or other professionals, and even come up with possible solutions to issues together. I need to learn how to rely upon others more, not just myself. Another quality I need to improve upon is being more outgoing and open. I am normally a rather reserved person; however, I need to make sure that any client would feel as if they can talk to me and that I can effectively communicate with them in turn. Lastly, I need to be more flexible in the face of unanticipated obstacles. I am used to making sure I have everything planned out days or months ahead in order to prepare myself. However, nothing is ever guaranteed, especially in the field of social work. One must be able to quickly adapt to situations that do not go as expected or that may not be familiar. Developing all of these qualities would make me a better social worker and improve my relationships with coworkers, clients, and anybody else I will need to work with in the field.
My desire to become a social worker stems from multiple factors. My personal experiences have shown me how impactful the profession can be. Its purpose to improve the lives of others and combat injustices appeal to me and my goals in life. I believe that several of my own values and traits correspond to those promoted and practiced by social workers in general. I plan to continue to work on bettering myself throughout my life in order to be an effective social worker. Social work is the field where I can see myself growing as a person and providing indispensable services to others.