Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The next chapter...involves school..lots of it!!

As you may all remember I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology from Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Washington last year. The same year that I retired, well the continued strive towards achieving the next step and goal has begun.

I am very excited today because I have learned that I have been accepted to the University of Southern California for the Masters in Social Work program. I have been busy taking care of paperwork and scheduling my Cultural Immersion workshops. I am excited to get the educational credentials that will help me reach my final goal; helping our veterans. 
I have thought about why Soldiers commit suicide and with the death of my Soldier this week I could come up with several reasons but the reason that keeps coming back to me is the lack of professional support. Many of the veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have very few professionals in the field of counseling or social work that understand what they have been through. I have a unique understanding of the experiences they have seen in combat.  I can relate with them as well as empathize with them about the feelings they have experienced and teach them that they do not have to be ashamed about their feelings. In the Army today, especially among the combat arms, there is an unfortunate stigma that revolves around seeking help. By asking for help you were considered weak and or an ineffective leader. Since early 2009 the Army has been trying to change this perception by providing counseling for Soldiers pre-deployment and post deployment stand downs. While I have been too numerous of these I have not once talked to a counselor. The counselors are usually civilians who have never deployed or are social workers brought in from the community. While they do a good job I have seen firsthand veterans and Soldier’s come into the Veterans Center and asks for a counselor that has served in the current wars. At the Boise Veterans center there is only one such counselor and his schedule was packed every day. I hope I can be one more social worker that these Soldier’s and Veterans can turn to for help.
The curriculum is going to intense and the time and dedication will pay off in the end. I am excited to begin my first semester on May 7th. My first two classes are Human Behavior and Social Environment and the second is Policy and Practise in Social Service Organizations.
Wish me luck all and if you have any questions about how to get started in school or any question in general do not hesitate to contact me!!!
Go Trojans!!!!