Why Did I Choose a Social Work Major?


Being a social work major in a small liberal arts college was not my first choice in degrees, mainly because I was undeclared when I came to Elizabethtown. After my first semester, I chose social work for a few reasons, especially because I wanted to help other people, but social work is something more than just helping others. Social work is a job that helps those in need (according to online definitions), but social work also provides people with lifelong skills that help them in both their social life and career. This article will be discussing how I chose social work, why I chose the area of social work that I am interested, and what I plan on pursuing in my life after college.

Growing up, everyone eventually figures out what they want to be when they become an adult, whether it be a veterinarian, a doctor, a lawyer, an astronaut or a teacher. It was never that easy for me. I was never sure what I wanted to be, but I knew exactly what I wanted to do: make a difference.

How Did I Choose a Career Path?

I always wanted to help others and learn at the same time. I did not want to work a job where I could become too emotionally invested in clients, so counseling was out of the question. I did not want a job where I could easily follow stereotypes and become a workaholic who was always stuck at my desk, like a defense attorney or criminal lawyer. I did not want anything in a lab because, well, poor eyesight. And I most definitely did not want to teach anything. So what was left?

Well, I could volunteer, work for the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps, fight the patriarchy, or I could do something big and something I had never considered before: joining the UN as an international social worker.

Social work provides me with multiple skills that are useful in my everyday life that I can apply in my career. It teaches me how to provide service for others, develop integrity, appreciate and notice everyone’s worth and dignity, fight for social justice, value the importance of human relationships and become more competent. While these are often skills that you hope a regular human would understand, or at least partially be able to understand, these are highly stressed in social work and in my own personal life.   

Why Become an International Social Worker for the United Nations?

First and foremost: I love to travel. After traveling comes the case of others come first. Right now, around the world, millions of men, women, and children are facing injustices based on their gender, sexual orientation, religion, skin color and even disability. I want to change that. I know it’s a big step and I know it isn’t something that I can do overnight on my own. This is one way that social work can help. Being involved in social work gives me multiple connections around the world, but it also gives me the tools to work hard and to be able to understand and learn about the different countries and cultures I would like to work with.

While my reasons for becoming a social work major vary from the other students who attend Elizabethtown College and the multiple other schools offering the program, there are multiple different kinds of social workers that are needed around the world and even at home!