Admission to the USC MSW Program, Personal Statement Example

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Personal Statement

Many people do not often get a second chance in life to pursue their “true calling.” At thirty-five years old, I am fortunate to have a supportive partner, a healthy body and mind, and the maturity and stability to enter into a new career. I was born and raised in Brazil. It is the custom there for a high school graduate to immediately choose a professional career path. I made this choice at the age of seventeen. Law school seemed to be the best option for me at the time because I felt that I would be helping apply social justice to all individuals and I believed my compassion and love for people would guide me as I walked the path towards a rewarding and successful career.

I quickly realized law school was not the place for me, as it seemed like part of the legal process was to drag minorities through the system more than actually help offer the resources to empower them. However, during my time in law school, I was offered a position to work within the court system. The apprenticeship inside the court and working closely with the prosecutor was indeed a life changing experience, to say the least. As soon as I arrived at the prosecutor’s cabinet, there was a staff shortage and I was asked to help with a variety of tasks. The prosecutor entrusted me with the responsibility of working with families below the poverty line and assisting them with legal issues they might have. I would provide legal counseling to minors who had committed misdemeanors so they might find a better path to pursue in life.

Anyone from the public who had a legal issue had the right, by law, to be assisted by the prosecutor and they would come to me first. I would listen to their life stories and provide some justice to those in need was not just a matter of applying laws; it was a matter of working with the community, bringing awareness to the public, educating them, and preventing cases from becoming so extreme and dramatic that they would find themselves in our slow and ineffective legal system.

Working as part of a team at the court and obtaining real world experience seemed to bring everything to life. These cases were not simply words in a book anymore and my spirits were lifted. But, perhaps the greatest benefit, was what it taught me about myself. I thrived on human interaction and teamwork. Fighting for equality and creating social change were matters that became increasingly important to me. The staff seemed to appreciate my hard work and I developed a mentorship with the court director. I loved talking with the public and giving them a feeling of comfort. I had discovered a quality in myself that I have never before realized – I was a good listener.

Unfortunately, towards the end of my second year of law school, I lost a very dear friend to suicide and it was difficult for me to continue with my studies. However, in order to accomplish the objective I had set upon entering law school, I persevered and remained strong throughout the storm. Regrettably, due to the emotional trauma in my life, my grades suffered. Though they suffered, I was able to graduate from law school and decide where I wanted to go from there.

After graduating law school, I decided to take a course in domestic violence against children and adolescents. I was again experiencing the opportunity to work hand in hand with the community. It was a rewarding experience to have a chance to bring education and compassion. Looking back at my apprenticeship at the prosecutor’s cabinet, I realized the job I was doing there was more related to social work than law and wondered if I might someday find my way back to school to pursue social work as a career.

In the meantime, practicalities necessitated that I have a job and I opened my own retail clothing business. In this phase of my life, I learned a lot about business administration and training employees as well as increasing my own leadership skills. This added more diversity to my life. It was during this time that I met my husband, a U.S. Army Physician. At this point, I decided to sell my business and joined my husband on a hardship tour to South Korea. I became involved with military families overseas and finally realized where my true passions lie.

I have a strong desire to join the next cohort in mental health with a sub-concentration in military social work. I’ve walked in those shoes and I have a strong commitment to the military community. As my interest and motivation is genuine, I know I can be a good addition to the next generation of social workers and be very helpful to our troops.

The social problem that concerns me the most is equality and discrepancies in social diversity. The United States has become a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities and races. We need to learn how to truly appreciate diversity, not only tolerate it. I want to be part of the movement that will bring us all greater equality, working with oppressed and marginalized groups. Since I am from Brazil and because I have had the opportunity to work with individuals of populations different than my own, I feel that I can make a great impact in the field of social work and face this challenge in a unique and non-conflicting manner. My goal is to make the world a better place and the USC MSW program is the one place in which I can begin my journey to a better future for basis.

In conclusion, I worked very hard as a law student in order to achieve that accomplishment and feel I could do the very same with a graduate degree in Social Work. My law experience, as stated earlier, was not the best; however, I did do my best, I did persevere, and I did work as hard as I possibly could in order to earn my degree. I have a keen eye for detail, great study habits, and am quite self-motivated. I believe these qualities are a benefit to me as a candidate for the USC MSW program. I do understand that graduate work is very costly. However, I am in the process of working on essays and fulfilling requirements for scholarships. I also intend to use financial aid to obtain this degree.

Social work is a profession that allows its employees to make life better for individuals who have no control over it. The social work industry is there to help others gain their footing and provide encouragement, support, motivation, and guidance to others. The core values of social work include helping others, giving back to the community, working as a team in order to accomplish a common goal, and providing support for those in need. This is exactly where I am supposed to be.

I am an individual who has compassion for others, who loves speaking to others and hearing their stories. I want to make a difference in the lives of others and the best way for me to do that is to earn my degree in Social Work. I am a good listener who cares about others, has a big enough heart to give to the entire world, and someone who is determined to make things better for my community. With faith, perseverance, and dedication, all of my dreams are possible and can be opportunity to make this a dream a reality.

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