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Graduate Admission: Social Work Personal Statement

This letter is written to provide background from a personal and professional viewpoint to the review board of Eastern Michigan University for admissions to the Masters of Social Program. The background provided is not from a traditional student’s perspective. I have been a working professional within the private sector for twenty years. The professional profile that I offer is steep within management of both personnel and business programs on behalf of a major auto manufacturer. I have been a working professional who had been taking evening classes through Eastern Michigan University to enhance myself.

By completing a degree this had a two fold potential; take my career into a new direction based on my major of Psychology but to also bolster my resume by having a college degree. The long term goal was to begin a Masters program to continue the education but a career change had ensued delaying the process.

I want to ensure my intended goal is completed by this masters degree and make a permanent career change which I know my skills and abilities would be used for a good advantage aimed on assisting people.

One area of my personal life which has provided enormous privilege is within family. This is both between my immediate family and in-laws who are accepting and supportive in many of their own ways. Many families do not have this type of support system which I have come to rely for support, nurturing and direction when it is difficult to see all options. Many people are struggling today; whether the economy has impacted their lives through their jobs and simply making ends meet or single parents trying to survive day by day to feed either themselves or their children. Providing support, assistance and direction are the key factors that have seriously influenced my decision in entering Masters of Social Program. Being aimed on suppoting and helping people as my family supported, assisted and directed me during these years to achieve my final goal.

During my professional tenure, I have had the opportunity to work with professionals from varying levels within the organization. These positions have ranged from Presidents, Chief Executive Officers, Controllers, Directors and clientele of national stature while operating on their behalf. My past positions have also included the management of subordinates ranging from mid-level management to customer service representatives and mail personnel fulfilling the processing and sorting inbound mail and completing data entry. Being able to gain access to this range of people, I was fortunate to have the acquaintance of one person in particular.

She was African American in her late twenties with an interesting set of skills struggling like most people to forge a place for herself. Her appearance at times was not always business professional; occasionally she had some articles of clothes that were stained or had minor holes in the fabric. Her hair was always pulled back and left with a ponytail. Based on business standards of appearance, I had requested to speak with her in private to discuss her outward appearance as others had approached me concerned with her situation. A conversation ensued with this person outlining the reason for the discussion and to understand from her perspective what could be done to meet the Human Resource requirement. I had not been prepared for the explanation that was provided but my employee went into detail about her personal situation which included marital issues from a husband that would not work but enjoyed playing video games all day, two younger children that were school age, financial issues due to increasing debts, mortgage crisis and many other stressful issues that she had been attempting to confront. Prior to this conversation, I would have never known the level of stress and frustration she had been enduring because her outward demeanor provided smiles, jokes and conversation that masked her turmoil. In addition, to her personal stress she had been taking college courses to change both her and the family situation. Based on her sole income for a family of four this family was living at a poverty level. Unfortunately, I could not simply increase her pay to assist in the situation but I knew this person was strong, skilled and ready to take on any task. In an attempt to change the situation, I had asked if they believed their situation could change if provided the opportunity by taking on additional tasks. Understanding the level of stress she had been under personal life, we both ensured that she was not overwhelmed nor set-up for failure by maintaining her position and taking an additional work load. We started to provide “one off” projects for completion, this was necessary not only for her and her confidence but to ensure this limb/branch that we created was not going to break under the pressure causing a larger problem in the future. Fortunately, this person performed exceptionally with most tasks provided and became a person of reliance from many business aspects. This type of work provided a base platform for me to present my suggestions of pay increases to my management. This person received diligent increases over a three year period to bring her a sustainable level with co-workers but did not completely resolve her issues. This is but one situation I had been confronted while working within this position. Unfortunately, the stigma of persons that live at a poverty level brings stereotypical images to mind but the same time we should not forget that they might have great potential and need certain support, directions and helpful reliable hand.

I think that described situation could illustrate my attitude to the social work as well as my personal mission, relating to the career interest. Having personal experience in the field of social work and understanding the difficulties of people, who really need help, I could use my skills, knowledge and personal experience for a good advantage, providing help for those who really need it. I understand the value and necessity of social working in the United States, the same time I realize how significant and responsible this work is as people in the scrutinized situations react differently on the suggested help. Individual treating, is one of the core ideas, I would appreciate in my post-graduation plans for future.

Masters of Social Program at Eastern Michigan University is attractive for me for several reasons. But the most important is that the core ideas of the social work school correspond to my personal and I find it very important for the student as it excludes contradiction between personal understanding and scholarly ones. I would like to develop my personal and professional skills in order to provide high qualified, individually oriented social support for those who really need it.