“Why would you want to be a Social Worker?” my high school friend Alex questioned me while shaking his head. "You should choose a more lucrative career."
"Alex, life is not only about money or prestige, but fulfillment" I replied.
It was 1984, our senior year in high school. Alex and I were the top students in our class. Our friendship developed after realizing that there was no sense in competing against each other. Along with three other students, we formed a great study group, which we called DODALCA. It was an acronym from our names.
Alex and I enrolled at the same university. It was a state university. He aspired to be an engineer. I hadn’t actually planned to enroll in college. I had come to the conclusion that I couldn’t afford it. But something unexpected happened. A coincidence I thought. A miracle perhaps.
There was a regional contest in which public schools were to select their top students, one per school, to take part in a college examination. I was selected to represent our school. I took the test. I didn’t win the contest, but I scored high enough to be accepted at the state university.
I attended private catholic school from first to tenth grade, and I was quite involved in religious and social activities. I felt great appreciation for the Sisters in our community. I admired their devotion and hard work, but most their compassion and caring for the children, youth, and elderly. They promoted and supported leadership and organization in our community.
“When I grow up I want to be a nun,” I told myself when I was a teenager. I didn’t
become a nun, but their principles and sensitivity in carrying out their duties laid the groundwork for the drive that later inspired me to be a Social Worker.
I lost contact with Alex and the others from the study group. I have heard that Alex is a successful engineer and works for an international company. I was glad to hear that. As for me, I would choose to be a Social Worker again if I went back in time.
Advocating, educating, promoting, protecting, supporting individuals and communities have been priceless experiences. While encouraging and promoting self-empowering, I have empowered myself. As a person and a professional, I feel I have succeeded. I am --and forever be-- proud to be a Social Worker.