Saturday, January 23, 2010
From the Kitchen Table to the Classroom-Part 2
(This is the second half of our daughter's thoughts about her college and university exerience.)
After my first semester at Macewan I began working at the Mustard Seed. During my employment there I realized that the problems facing the inner city population were more than psychological issues and that psychology was an incomplete perspective for dealing with systemic social issues. A colleague recommended I consider Social Work. I looked into the diploma program at MacEwan, but realized that with another 30 credits I could apply directly for the Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) through the University of Calgary’s Edmonton division campus. I completed the requirements for admission and was accepted into the program Fall of 2007.
I completed the program this spring. The faculty of Social Work was the perfect fit for me. The graduating class from the Edmonton Division was just over 40 people. The instructors not only knew me by name, but got to know me as a person and provided informal mentorship to me. I learn best when I am actively engaged in the topic and the process and the University of Calgary provided an atmosphere that I thrived in.
I did my Senior Practicum with the City of Edmonton and it lead to full time employment with them. I am working as a counselor and group facilitator. I enjoy and am fulfilled with the work I do and plan to return to school for a Masters of Social Work in the fall of 2011.
Home education prepared me for success. Throughout university my reading and comprehension abilities were my greatest asset. My mom always encouraged reading and approached it in a way that made it fun and rewarding. Home education taught me to enjoy learning and to seek the acquisition of knowledge. I still love learning and it enriches my life and improves my practice as a Social Worker.
Unfortunately, there are also limitations to home education. I always wanted to pursue an arts degree, but had I wanted to pursue a science degree my path would have been more difficult and I would have likely had to earn high school science credits before being considered for admission into a science faculty. In my pursuit of an arts degree I attended 4 universities. This was time consuming and costly. My tuition at Taylor was nearly twice the amount as a public institution, I had to pay application fees 4 times, applying to the University of Calgary was complicated by the fact that I had transcripts from 3 different universities, and I had to prove myself every step of the way. I took 6 years to complete a degree that usually only takes 4. This was due in part to the complications of not having a diploma, but I also allowed myself time to work while in school which provided me the necessary work experience to apply for Social Work.
One last thing: Even though I had many rich and close relationships and countless interactions with a variety of people during my time in university, the first and often only question I would be asked when people learned I was home educated from k-12 was always, “but what about socialization?” often followed by, “but you don’t seem home schooled” (despite that fact that most of them had never met someone who was home educated other than me). I think that question will probably haunt me (and all other home educated people) the rest of my life!
Thanks for reading about my experience.