Lifes little Reminders

I often find that I have forgotten some of the important and fun things from every day life. Here is where I will remember them

The world lost a wonderful man today

I have 5 days until my Graduate school application is due..I have worked really really hard on my essay, and I've put it out there a few times in other forums because I need this to be the clincher, I need this to get me into grad school!!! So here it is: (PS the formatting is wacky so ignore it)

Most people deny letting their jobs define them. Not me. As a full time habilitation counselor of UMDNJ’s University Behavioral Healthcare program, a case manager at a domestic violence shelter, and a life coach for developmentally challenged clients with mental illness; I am proud to say that my career choices do define me.

Throughout this narrative, I will be discussing my current occupations, and how they have helped to prepare me for a career in social work. In doing so, I will shed light on my reasons for applying to the Rutgers School of Social Work as well as on my focus of violence against women and children. Finally, I will also discuss my personal values and the community experiences which have led me to this profession.

Since applying to the School of Social Work in 2009 I obtained a position within the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey as a habilitation counselor for their acute partial hospital program. As a habilitation counselor, I provide case management services for mentally ill and chemically dependent consumers age 18 and over. I also work with families to maximize the consumers functioning and to enhance meaningful and constructive membership within the community. In this position, I facilitate both skills and psycho-educational therapeutic group sessions, (such as “Assertiveness & Self Awareness” “Domestic Violence Support”, and “Behavioral Coping Skills”), for consumers whose mental illnesses range from bi-polar to severe schizophrenia, many who are chemically dependent. It is my employment at UMDNJ that has inspired and further encouraged me to take the necessary steps to begin the graduate education process.

What’s in a name, rather, what’s in a job title? For my position as a life coach; everything! As a life coach at Declarations, my role is to provide person-centered, community-based services to individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness throughout Monmouth County. Through the use of innovative training methods that offer a holistic approach designed to assist each individual to become self sufficient, I have helped change the way these individuals perceive themselves. I teach people the skills they need to live a life of their own, and assist them with their daily lives so that they can obtain independence. Finally, as a life coach I provide behavioral intervention, direct skills training, and community integration techniques that assist each individual in achieving their own personal goals. It is through Declarations Inc, that I am able to put into practice and apply all of the various skills and abilities I have acquired in an extremely appropriate setting.

I believe that a person can never know too much, or practice too hard and it was in my position as a life coach that I was able to truly discover and hone in on my skills, strengths and weaknesses. For instance, I had to learn to ask for help which was at one point a weakness of mine. I have dedicated a great deal of effort in rectifying this flaw in order to better serve the clients and consumers I work with. I have a tendency to dedicate myself to multiple tasks at one time, and excel at them until they are completed the “right way”. Through this practice I was able to assist many clients with achieving their goals; however due to my tendency to take on multiple tasks as well as overly criticize myself it was often an arduous journey. At this time I learned that asking for help is never a mistake. I also learned that there are many paths to take when trying to reach a goal, and that each individual has a unique way of getting there. I also discovered that I will not accept failure or defeat as a resolution to a client’s ambitions or goals. Again, this has become a weakness. For the duration of my work at Declarations Inc, I was given the freedom and privilege to excel in a position of leadership, independent of my supervisor. As the first person employed in this position, I was able to model and teach my co-workers effective problem solving, and communication skills with compassion and the reliability they came to depend on. Lastly, while I consider my skill set in working with people to be one of my strongest assets, I also consider this same skill set to be one of my weaknesses. I yearn for the skills that a master’s level education will give me. I believe that with further education, I will be able to greatly expand my knowledge, and my skill set to better suit the needs of the various populations I work with currently, and would like to work with in the future.

The dedication I have developed to my focus on violence against women and children comes from the work I do at Women Aware, the lead domestic violence agency in Middlesex County. Women Aware is the county’s only shelter servicing battered women and their children. The shelter’s services include a variety of programs addressing the complex problems of domestic violence. As a per diem counselor, my position allows me to work one on one with the women in shelter; educating clients on domestic violence, cycles of abuse, and safety planning. This position also entails answering and screening the 24 hour Domestic Violence hotline, conducting evaluations to determine the appropriate level of care for women entering shelter, providing crisis intervention services, and providing referrals for services and necessary resources when exiting the Safe House. While in this position I have worked with a remarkable group of strong, determined women who want nothing more than to understand how domestic violence has entered their lives. I take pride in helping them to not only find those answers but to help them in eliminating the abuse from their lives.

While I can definitively say I have gained an immense amount of knowledge from my professional experiences, I would not have been able to get my foot in the door without the knowledge I acquired at Rutgers University. I began my studies in 2003 knowing that I wanted a career in social work, and helping others. Unfortunately, I was not able to dedicate my entire focus on my education. During the first quarter of my education at Rutgers I struggled with finding a balance between family crises, working full time, and my studies. Needless to say my semester grades were a wakeup call, and I was less than pleased with my performance. It was at this time I made the decision that my education was most important, and going forward it was my priority. Despite my renewed dedication to my education, I still struggled with being able to support myself and focus solely on my education. I continued to study relentlessly, and began to see vast improvements. I believe that my overall grade point average does not accurately reflect both my knowledge and ability to succeed at the Masters level. In looking at my entire transcript as whole, the upward trend is clear and definitive. Finally, knowing that my overall GPA does not meet the requirement set forth by the admissions department, I would be more than willing to enter into the Masters in Social Work program, on academic probation. Doing so would provide me with the opportunity to demonstrate my skills and determination.

Ten years ago, after witnessing family violence firsthand, I knew I wanted to become a social worker. Since then, I found myself always gravitating toward situations where I can help others. Rutgers University is the only school I applied to for my undergraduate studies because I knew it would provide me with the best education on the subject matter. Years later, I know this to be true for my graduate studies as well, and giving me this opportunity would allow me to further demonstrate my skills and determination.

Since beginning work at UMDNJ, my career vision has never been clearer. With the completion of my Master’s degree I would advance to the position of a mental health clinician. In this position I would be able to provide individual therapy sessions, as well as complete intake assessments. Furthermore, in addition to obtaining my Master’s I would also begin the process of obtaining licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Lastly, I will obtain my Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification so that I may provide services to people with addictions in my current position, as a clinician, and in private sessions. Consequently upon acquiring my Master’s, I also have a position lined up in a private counseling office.

Setting these goals into place has made me more determined than ever before to begin and complete my studies. I am confident that Rutgers University will provide me with the education that is essential for me to advance and excel in my life and with my career.

I have this friend who I have been friends with for about ten years. Lets call her Rose. Throughout high school Rose and I were inseperable, and even for a while afterwards. However, we hit some rough patches and stopped speaking off an on- but here's the thing- as far as I am concerned it has always been her doing (or not doing). The pattern has become that she just ouright stops talking to me, respding to calls etc. In fact, now in current time, the last 3 times we were supposed to get together she has blown me off.

Here's my issue- I understand you have a lifem you have kids, you have other people to deal with besides me.. I would never think myself to be that high on the priority list. But why can't you call someone and say that? Instead of leaving me hanging and waiting for you, why not shoot a text my way to say "something came up", "I'm tired", "I feel like staying in tonight", etc..All of these things are perfectly acceptable so why not?!?!

Furthermore, How am I supposed to take it when I KNOW we have plans that haven't been kept but you do have time to hang out with other people? Again- not trying to be a top priority, I just want to be informed!!! I really don't think this is an impossible concept to grasp. In today's society we are mostly always reachable via Facebook, text and phone..


So here is where I want to write some highlights from my day and things that are important to me. I want you guys to be able to keep up to date with all the goings on!

Events from today:

  • Woke up with a headache that lasted throughout the day. That will teach me to drink on random Monday nights!
  • My cat, Turbo continues to try and have sex with my arm! Slightly disturbing...
  • Clients at UMDNJ reported to be doing pretty well :)
  • Wonderful Turkish dinner with Leo , who I will not see until Friday

Also, most of you know that Leo's family is going through some tough times right now, please continue to hope for the best for them and us. Till next time!!