My name is Ashton Sanchez and I'm an FSU MSW online graduate. I am currently a social work intern at the University of Miami in the Pediatric Infectious Medicine Department.
I provide therapeutic services to patients and their families. The clinic specializes in care for babies, children, and adolescents who are HIV positive.
I discuss coping skills and therapeutic techniques to assist patients in processing through their diagnosis.
I also help patients with disclosure and how to keep themselves and others safe. I am presently in my last semester of the online Master of Social Work Program at Florida State University.
I started my undergraduate career at FSU in the summer of 2012. I went into that portion of my life thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to study and do as a career for myself.
I started as a fashion merchandising major, and while I enjoyed the program and classes immensely, I begin to have some doubt. As I continued my classes and studying, I realized that I actually had no idea what I really wanted to do.
As I was processing all of the new information I was getting, I came to understand that what truly made me happy was people, society, and how to improve them both.
I have always known that I wanted to give back to the community. Since high school, I have completed countless volunteer hours through non-profit organizations within my hometown Miami, Florida.
However, I had not realized that I could combine my love of volunteering with a career. Through the assistance of my advisors, I navigated my way through several intro courses before taking an Intro to sociology course.
I was captivated by the study of sociology. I decided to pursue an undergrad degree in sociology.
I graduated with my undergraduate degree in sociology with a concentration in child development in 2016 from FSU. Two weeks after my undergrad graduation, I began working in a child welfare agency in Miami, Florida.
I worked as a child welfare case manager for a few months before being promoted to a human trafficking specialist. At that time, my caseload switched to adolescents who were in the child welfare system and who were also victims of human trafficking.
I think I had always known what being a social worker was without realizing what it was called or that I could make it my career. As a social worker, you can come into an individual’s life and assess the situation they are currently going through in order to help them.
For that reason, I believe social work tends to get a negative connotation. Social workers tend to come into people’s lives when they are struggling. As a result, I think individuals who are unaware of what a social worker does are quick to believe that the reason an individual is in that negative situation is because of the social worker.
Through my work in child welfare, I became more familiar with the study of social work but was not entirely convinced it was the path that I wanted to take. At this point, I was wholly engulfed in the child welfare world in Miami.
As my career continued, I met with a copious amount of people, many of them turning out to be veteran social workers. I came to realize that the common factor among them all and the great work they were doing was a Master of Social Work degree.
Working in child welfare, I quickly fell in love with my career and working with the children. While I loved what I did, I was increasingly frustrated because I wanted to do more.
What was holding me back from doing more for the children and families I served was my lack of a master's degree. If wanted to continue to advance in the child welfare field, I needed to advance my education.
I was almost entirely convinced that I wanted to study social work, but I still took the time to sit down and speak with numerous supervisors regarding how I should go about continuing my schooling.
I asked for advice about different programs and areas of study. Since they had been in the field for so long, I felt as though the information I received was the best I could ask for.
I decided that an MSW online graduate degree was precisely the degree I needed to fulfill all that I have planned at that point for my future.
The first place I looked for master’s programs was Florida State. I had such an incredible undergraduate experience at FSU, that if they had a program that matched my interests, it would be my number one choice.
FSU also had incredible professors, advisors, deans, and support staff. It would be incredible to have the support and guidance during my graduate degree.
FSU offered a few different options through the MSW online graduate program. The online option appealed to me the most. I loved my on-campus experience at FSU, but I was now at a different point in my life.
I had a job that I loved and was passionate about. I knew that I had an entire caseload of human trafficking victims that needed me as their case manager, and I loved being their case manager. I also had my grandparents, who I assisted in taking care of who also needed me.
As a result of my many responsibilities, I needed a program that would fit into my already busy schedule. The online program was perfect for me. I would be able to work on my classes while maintaining my full-time job and while taking care of my family.
With the freedom of online courses, I can work on coursework during periods of time that fit best with my schedule. The program also functioned on a part-time level, an additional. It was manageable to take two classes at a time while working full-time.
Now in my final semester, I have already experienced the many doors the degree has opened for me. I have made connections through my professors, my advisors, and my fellow students.
I was concerned when I started online classes that I would miss out on having classmates. However, I have still made great connections and have a couple of people that have followed almost the same coursework track as I have.
I know this degree will continue to open even more doors for me. I have already moved up and received promotions. Nonetheless, the most important thing I have gotten out of this degree is the ability to provide even more for the populations I work with.
I have grown so much since the start of this degree. I am now able to do things I was frustrated I could not do when I was working in child welfare.
While I have gotten so much out of my degree already, I know it will continue to provide me with opportunities. I am already considering pursuing licensure and my education further in a doctoral program.
I feel very connected with my professors and advisors. I know that if I am in need or if I have any questions, even though I am no longer in the courses, I feel as though my professors will be there for me.
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