Earlier today, I started working on an application for admission to a master's program in social work. The program is at the same institution from which I received my undergraduate degree and has both full-time and part-time options (I am applying for the part-time program). I still need to write my personal statements, get my transcripts, and figure out what to do about recommendations, but at least the application is started. If I'm accepted - and more importantly, if I'm awarded enough financial aid to attend - I'd start in September 2012.
This is a big, big, BIG deal for me. I've hated being a lawyer from the get-go - during my summer associate job the summer after my second year of law school, I used to get a huge pit in my stomach as soon as the city skyline came into view on the drive to work. I've stuck it out for six years at this point - first at the firm, then on my own - but I'm pretty much positive that this is not the right way for me to spend the rest of my working life.
I've been resigned to being a miserable lawyer forevermore because I didn't really see a way out. I've been focused on teaching as a possible alternate career path, but teaching at the high school level doesn't pay enough and teaching at the college level would require a Ph.D that I don't have the time or money to get (Ph.D programs are generally full-time and we can't afford for me not to earn an income for the 6-8 years it would take to complete a degree).
P suggested social work as a good option for me and I kind of brushed it off at first - I'm not cut out for going into rough neighborhoods and confronting parents about how they're treating their kids! But then I started reading about social work as a profession and realized that there are a lot of social work jobs where that kind of thing isn't required. Reading about what social workers actually do, and the many different kinds of social work jobs that are out there... well, it started to seem like a good fit for me. I decided to apply to the program at my old college and see what happens. Maybe I'll get in or maybe I won't. Maybe I'll be able to afford it or maybe I won't. But just starting the application made me feel... lighter. It was like a huge weight was taken off my shoulders. It feels like there just might be a light at the end of this tunnel.
I think I'd be a pretty awesome social worker. And I actually think I'd enjoy it. I went to law school because I wanted to help people and only realized after the fact how little helping is involved in the practice of law. Social work would allow me to do a different, more personal kind of advocacy.
I'm excited about the potential here! I don't think I'm ready to tell people in real life about this, not just yet... but I'm ready to share with the anonymous bloggy world. That's a start, right?