English 102 – First essay (fastwrite, then rewrite), Diagnostic - Theme: Something Important for You to Know about Me.
Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a Social Worker. As a young girl, I had compassion for people and wanted to do anything I could to help out. I was dissuaded from pursuing Social Work as a vocation by my mother because she felt I would end up "adopting ten children." I later discovered it was more important to her (at the time) for me to help at home when my brothers were younger, than it was for me to attend college.
I have volunteered on numerous occasions at the Rescue Mission as well as for Sister Jean's Kitchen in Atlantic City. There is a time when you need to look outside of yourself and to the needs of others, and whenever I would venture beyond being selfish and self-serving, I felt a connection because somehow, we are all broken and we meet at a wound. When I taught 8th grade confirmation class, as part of the students' service projects, I would transport a group of my Confirmandi to the Rescue Mission to volunteer for the day. They would sort out and help stock the pantry, separate donated clothing, take a tour of the Mission itself, and help prepare lunch for the residents. Although apprehensive about the experience initially, the students left as a changed people. It was transforming! I occasionally meet up with former students who express to me how their field trip to the Mission was one of the most memorable ones they ever had participated in.
When I worked at the Childbirth Center in Pomona as an OB Tech, I found that I naturally gravitated toward the mamas who came from poverty – the ones who came in nearly ready to push because they could barely eke out cab fare, the ones who had no overnight bags and scarcely had a change of clothing to take their babies home in. The experiences during my tenure at the hospital left indelible marks on me (and in me) and there were many nights I would go home, not only physically exhausted but also mentally drained because of what I had encountered during the day. There were times when I worked in the nursery I felt as though I should remove my shoes as I was walking on holy ground. Even though I treated all patients with courtesy and respect, I made sure certain ladies would go home with their babies and a diaper bag full of extra amenities.
I am now back to being a legal secretary, a career I pursued when I was fresh out of high school. Over the last three years, however, I have had an ache to get back to school to pursue the career choice of my youth. It may take me longer than the average student to get my undergraduate studies completed (since I work full-time and can only attend classes at night), but I believe I am finally heading in the direction of the profession I have been called to for the last 30+ years. It would seem, however, that I have been doing social work, all along.