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please could use some advice, thinking about quitting program!


pamjam05

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i have been career confused for years. after years working in social services i decided to pursue a master in social work. i am in my 2nd year of 4 (its part time). i have a BA in psych.

 

I have to confess that i HATE the program. I have been with the same students throughout the last cpl years and I truly feel that most of them are complete morons..

 

My profs and admin are worse....between the 90 year old prof who felt too entitled to actually prepare any lesson plans for class to the one who consistently cut class an hour early over the whole year, to the profs who have never actually worked in social work but somehow seem to teach courses aimed at practice, to the political prof who gave A's only to those who voted a certain way, to the entitled prof who think that social workers should be valued higher than doctors, to the constant ranting and raving against "the man" in class by profs and students only to propose no solutions or answer, to the prof who graded my paper a b+ only to admit they didn't actually read it all but felt it was the beginning of the year and wanted to give me "room for growth"...ohhh its' been a peach.

 

I have learned absolutely nothing (except to write a paper according to what i know someone wants to hear) and have paid thousands of dollars for part of a degree. I recognize I'm bitter from my experience...maybe it would be different at another school? but i don't know, i'm starting to think that social work isn't a real profession and wondering how so many jobs require MSW degrees given that I am not learning anything...and there is a real lack of identity in this profession. Keep in mind this is from a canadian perspective (different than US social workers). i look around the room at the students and every single one of them has a different interpretation of what a social worker is. not to mention it's not really the most respected profession in industry now.

 

my work experience in the area too while i'm in school is just making me even more bitter.

 

i thought this would be a good path because i want a career where i can feel like i have helped people in a tangible way and i am very social. i'm academically bright and very career oriented...i think ive made a huge mistake.

 

its been going on for awhile - at this point i feel sick to my stomach thinking about my future in this program..every class, every assignment, makes me more angry and upset at this whole system...

 

but i just don't know what a good alternative would be...and i feel hopeless and lost...

 

please i could use some advice...what should i do?

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Honestly, it sounds like the particular program you're in isn't the greatest (profs especially). I'd see if you can transfer before you bail out completely. I'd hate to see all the credits you earned over the last couple of years go to waste, and I know the experience isn't always the same at each school.

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I have a tough time believing that the entire department, profs and students are all morons. No offense to you, that could very well be the case, but I just have a hard time. If that is the case, do consider transferring. Otherwise, I would take some time to reflect and see if it's a perspective problem.

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I have a tough time believing that the entire department, profs and students are all morons. No offense to you, that could very well be the case, but I just have a hard time. If that is the case, do consider transferring. Otherwise, I would take some time to reflect and see if it's a perspective problem.

 

I didn't say that the entire faculty and students are all morons. I had one prof who was actually quite dynamic...out of 5. And for the students, not all of them, but those that talk the most, often I find their comments offensive or uneducated...lacking any real criticial thinking...but again a lot of that is fueled by poor profs facilitating ranting sessions for students rather than real discussion (due to lack of any preparation). What I'm trying to get at is there a theme I'm seeing with this group of students...that a lot of them seem to have personal issues themselves...possibly their reason for getting into social work? And not the brightest... I'm hoping it is just my program that is like this...

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If my grade was based on what political party I support and feel I am not learning anything, I'd leave the program. In fact, one of the golden rules of any workplace is never talk about politics or you open yourself to discrimination. My grad school does not put up with professors openly playing favorites (some will still but not be open about it) or grading students unfairly since students can appeal them with evidence.

 

With your story, it sounds like this:

1. The program needs improvements in its curriculum

2. The professors don't like you or take you seriously.

 

You can't fix #1 other than transfer out. However, do you have a good standing GPA that another grad school will accept? For #2... easy way to fix this is to show you are an active learner. That is the best way to get on their good side; especially since you need them for job references. Make every attempt to see them during office hours. Be in frequent contact with them. NEVER challenge them or what they say during a lecture in front of your peers- it will get you nowhere and I learned this the very hard way with one professor in my undergrad. Take their feedback AND thank them. When grad professors see you are doing everything you can, they will go out of their way to ensure you will be successful. Keep documentation of every email, meeting, or phone call you make to them in case you run into problems and have to speak to a dean.

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Thank you very much for your insightful response. One of my profs once made up a mean nick name for a classmate based on his political affiliation...the nickname was used in class to undermine that student everytime he made a critical comment (the student would play the devils advocate to try to keep discussion fair when the prof would go on political rants). I was so shocked and appalled that the prof, who would like 20 years his senior, felt such little confidence in himself that he needed to demean a student in the manner...but there really isn't anyone to make a complaint to in my program so I just let it go. It is situations like this that leave me less than inspired in my program and profession.

 

I hope you are right and it is just a crappy program...rather than it being the whole profession itself...are you a social worker by chance? I could sure use some reassurance from someone.

 

I know you are right with your advice not to challege anyone. Over the past cpl years I have challenged grades a cpl times informally (by requesting a meeting to talk about my grade on a paper). I have never formally challenged although in both cases I felt I never truly got a further explanation for my grade...in both cases my grade was simply changed to essentially shut me up...and I let it go. This shouldn't happen in my opinion...but I realize that keep good relations is important. I just wish I didn't have to put up with this stuff. I will try to follow your advice.

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As a EX Social Worker/Youth Worker I'll give you some advice that may help. I am biased though because I think it's probably the worse proffesion in the world for your own mental & physical health.

 

The proffession itself is thankless, depressing and almost always hard. Odd's are (100% likely)you will get assaulted (I did many times, in fact I was seriously assaulted on many occassions) both verbally and physically by your clients. It brings you down having to see so much bad stuff like clients who were raped, on drugs, abused as a child. I hated my job at several organizations everyday I was working, it brings you down and drains your energy to the point where you end up depressed.

 

I loved university though, it was such a great time. I had fun but the career itself was the worst mistake of my life.

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As a EX Social Worker/Youth Worker I'll give you some advice that may help. I am biased though because I think it's probably the worse proffesion in the world for your own mental & physical health.

 

The proffession itself is thankless, depressing and almost always hard. Odd's are (100% likely)you will get assaulted (I did many times, in fact I was seriously assaulted on many occassions) both verbally and physically by your clients. It brings you down having to see so much bad stuff like clients who were raped, on drugs, abused as a child. I hated my job at several organizations everyday I was working, it brings you down and drains your energy to the point where you end up depressed.

 

I loved university though, it was such a great time. I had fun but the career itself was the worst mistake of my life.

 

Wow...so what did u do after social work then?

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One of my profs once made up a mean nick name for a classmate based on his political affiliation...the nickname was used in class to undermine that student everytime he made a critical comment (the student would play the devils advocate to try to keep discussion fair when the prof would go on political rants).

I'd document this.

 

A year ago, my fiancé was berated by one college professor who publicly humiliated him and several other students about a quiz grade on several occasions. He had enough and decided to use his iPhone to record her class lectures. He did and had voice recordings of his professor acting very unprofessionally, including her asking him to get naked and practice scanning private areas (he was in an ultrasound program) for a class full of female students. That professor got FIRED after he shared the recordings off his iPhone with the dean and department chair.

 

Smartphones can easily record any conversations almost every college students has them. Don't be afraid to use it if you need to to keep a person in line.

 

I hope you are right and it is just a crappy program...rather than it being the whole profession itself...are you a social worker by chance?

I'm in Special Education. It's close enough.

 

Over the past cpl years I have challenged grades a cpl times informally (by requesting a meeting to talk about my grade on a paper). I have never formally challenged although in both cases I felt I never truly got a further explanation for my grade...in both cases my grade was simply changed to essentially shut me up...and I let it go.

Ok... So how did you approach them about your grade? For stuff like this, you got to handle it tactfully as possible or you can make your college professor your worst enemy.

 

1. Do not wait to see a professor about your essay AFTER you submitted it. Seek the feedback before turning it in by showing them your essay outline. Get a feel for what they are looking for. Be like "these are my ideas and thesis, but I feel I could make this paper stronger. Is there anything else that I could include for this topic?" This shows them you are trying to plan your paper thoughtfully and carefully.

 

2. Careful wording. "You attract more flies with honey." Come to the professor seeking. GUIDANCE rather than to rant.

Better statement: "I noticed I got this grade for this paper. I want to make my next paper for this class better than this. What can I do about it so I don't make the same mistake again?"

Terrible statement: "I don't get why I got this grade! I worked very hard on it. I want to know why you gave me this grade?" (this is whiny and confrontational that professors do not have time to hear, and will cause them to brush you off)

 

3. If your campus has a writing center, to there. A writing center keeps logs of student visits that professors can access. Make sure you have some sort of documentation to prove you have gone to the writing center.

 

Hope this helps for next semester!

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