The butterflies in the stomach, the pencils sharpened, the nervous jitters, the favorite outfit neatly ironed and ready to go, the thought “man….I can NOT wait to go homeland take a NAP.” All familiar standards for the first day of school. Trade in the pencils being sharpened, for the laptops being charged and lo and behold, you have the first day of classes and orientation for the #WestCOMSW school. Just as the likes of Billy Madison and Rodney Dangerfield before us… Back to school we went! No horrific first day of school happenings to report on: no tripping up the steps, toilet paper on the shoe, showing up to the wrong classroom, or any of the other things that students have nightmares about prior to the first day of classes. Just waves of excitement and motivation to learn. The school we are starting is just a slightly different from your normal Grad school. The #WestCOMSW is a cohort program in Glenwood Springs, which essentially means that all of us take the same classes, at the same time, so we are going to get to know each other very well! 15 folks from different places, different backgrounds, different hopes, dreams, aspirations, and goals, but many commonalities. Our program started last Friday, and already we have learned some amazing knowledge. Facts like: “Smoke more weed” (for the marijuana tax money…duh!), “don’t use the email MiniSkirtNINJA6@hotmail.com as an email address when trying to be a professional”, “Strive for the ‘B’”, and of course, when it comes to reading at the Masters level, “you must skim, skim, skim.” But all jest aside, we met some amazing, intellectual and remarkable people this weekend in the first classes of our two-year program. Friday was filled with picture taking, introductions, icebreakers, many meetings on “zoom”, which is the hip older sister to “skype”, and food…. lots and lots of food. In between the breakfast burritos, Jimmy John’s sandwiches, pizza, salads, and snacks, we managed to fit in a little learning.
The next ten weeks (and 2 years) hold the promise to be exciting, educational, and fun …. and probably a decent amount of watching of “TED talks” and trips to City Market. We travelled from Steamboat, Montrose, Leadville, Grand Junction and other High Rockies and Western Slope towns to learn, grow, and develop. We received the promise from every teacher to not only learn about clients, but also as importantly to learn about ourselves. To understand the people we will be helping, we have to understand ourselves….as simple as that. As we all embark on this magical, masterful journey to become Social Workers … change makers … do-gooders … we will question a lot, laugh a lot, probably cry, feel overwhelmed, and enraged, and sad, and accomplished, and joyful, and tired, and ill prepared, and a whole multitude of emotions at any given time. But these feelings will make the expedition even more fulfilling and worthwhile. As my main girl, Oprah Winfrey, put so poignantly:
“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” – Oprah Winfrey
I think this past weekend was the beginning of our own personal calling, and the beginning of our “social work adventure”. After all, life is just one beautiful adventure after another, and I can’t wait to start on this one!