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Student Profile: Muirhead on Casework

Eleanor Muirhead, Casework Student
 

The well-rounded and diverse curriculum gave me access to a range of classes and I have been encouraged to embrace other tracks and gain a more complete understanding of social work as a profession and the systems affecting my clients.

Eleanor Muirhead

Casework
Advanced Year – First Year Field
Focused Area of Study: Social Work with Older Adults, Mental Health and Addiction
Treasurer, Graduate Student Organization
Bachelor’s Degree: Stonehill College, International Studies

Attending UConn’s School of Social Work was an easy choice for me. The well-rounded and diverse curriculum gave me access to a range of classes and I have been encouraged to embrace other tracks and gain a more complete understanding of social work as a profession and the systems affecting my clients. Despite being in a micro concentration, the dual focus on macro reinforced for me the importance of being a leader within our profession. A newfound fervor for macro practice inspired me to take on leadership roles and join the Graduate Student Organization and the National Association of Social Workers. Over the last year, I have frequently written my legislators and stayed more involved with the political system than ever before. Although my career focus is in casework, for me, social work means being a voice in your community. After all, if we can’t advocate for ourselves and our own needs, how do we expect to help others advocate for themselves?

Another reason I was drawn to UConn was the flexible study programs. I came into MSW program without a background in social work and I was cautious of getting in over my head. Because of this, I chose to take the three year course of study which allowed me to continue being employed and volunteering in the community while working towards my degree. Retrospectively, given how supportive the administration, professors, and field advisors have been, I would have been fine. But doing the program in three years has also given me the space to make the most out of my time here. Going into my placement with one year of classwork behind me means that I can hit the ground running in my internship this year and get the most out of my field placement.

This experience will be what you make it. You can choose to sit silently in class and get your degree or you can take this opportunity to engage with your education. Whether you are straight out of your Bachelor’s program or have been working in the field for 20 years, this is the opportunity to challenge yourself and open yourself up to new and sometimes uncomfortable ideas. It’s your education; use it.

Despite vowing to my husband to be done with degrees, my experience at UConn already has me thinking about going back for my PhD…