It's true

“One thing I wish I’d learned in Social Work School”: A Follow-up

It's true

I recently published a note about how I wish I’d learned more about skills for entrepreneurship while pursuing my degrees in Social Work. I shared my post in some of the Social Work groups I belong to on LinkedIn, and wanted to share some of the things others wish they had learned with you.

Vikki Brewster, MSW“I wish I had been given the opportunity for more internship experience in various social work fields and different segments of the population. I believe social work students should spend each year of their education working with different segments of the population (youth one year, adults another). Too often the focus is on the student being supervised and gaining experience, but it may not be the right fit for the student or supervisor.

When it comes down to skills taught and learned I would imagine that this has changed over the years and hopefully with the modern area of social media/internet, social work students are gaining the experience they need/desire.”

Rosaura Torres •  More about “..Internships in Companies and Justice fields…”

Chasity Lovely, MSW, CSW • “How to transition into different types of social work careers and how to start a private practice.”

Claude Devillier • “I agree ….professional development, even if just presentations on this would be great idea.”

Rachel West, MSW, LMSW“Grant writing, fund-raising, more options that focused on macro practice.”

Rachel is also one of my social justice blogging colleagues. You can find her website over at The Political Social Worker.

Donna Hunter, LCSW, CADC • “That private practice is a business and we deserve to make money.”

Emily Blake, MSW“Public speaking, innovative fundraising strategies for nonprofits, a course on benefit corporations and service delivery in that business model, international NGO’s, grant management, as well as a general business and marketing class. UCLA was an incredible school in that it did provide classes on grant writing, nonprofit leadership, opening a nonprofit, international social work, general fundraising strategies, and that the school provided workshops on opening a private practice and professional development.”

genevieve curio • “grant writing, community and leadership classes”

Beth LaFontaine, MSW, LCSW Behavioral Health • “Grant writing was a good one to mention. As I have transitioned from community MH (mental health)  clinician to Behavioral Health clinician for Insurance company I would also say…. Healthcare systems and huge governing bodies like CMS etc.

There is a growing need for LCSW’s in insurance/medical world to address BH needs and ensure continuity of care amongst patients and all their healthcare providers. So many medical dx have symptoms that mimic depression, anxiety, etc like thyroid that need to be addressed. Boston College GSSW did impress upon us importance of systems and policy.”

Gerald Myers • “The writings of Bertha Capen Reynolds would have been an important addition to my social work education. When I learned of her, I felt something lost had been found:) She is a pillar of social work as are Mary Richmond and Jane Adams.

Robin Unruh • “I completed an employment based practicum with a child welfare agency which served a purpose at the time. However, as my career has progressed I wish I would have participated in a practicum experience beyond child welfare as there are so many options available in the social work field.”

Deona Hooper, MSW“I wished that social work programs offered a project management certification as an option!” 

Deona is another one of my social justice blogging colleagues. You can find more of her work on’s blog.

DeAnna K. Hall, MSW, GCDF“I agree with Deona and Rachel”

Steven Graddick III“I’m a new student and can always use more knowledge about current changes in the field.”

Linda Grobman, MSW, LSW, CMP “I think there are a couple of areas that are not covered widely in schools of social work. One is the topic of self care, burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. (We will be publishing an article about this in an upcoming issue of THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER, and have published articles about it before, as well.) When I hear people talk about this (or write about it), it is usually in the context of, “We weren’t taught this in school….” I know it wasn’t covered when I got my MSW. Countertransference was addressed in supervision in my field placement…I was fortunate to have a supervisor who was tuned in to such issues.

Another area is that of writing skills. Writing is important in social work, whether writing for publication or writing “everyday” documents like progress notes. Social workers need to be able to communicate clearly and professionally in writing.”

Those were some responses, but what about yours? Is there anything you’d wish you’d learned? It’s never too late to start.

Grace & Peace,

From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW



Get New Notes in Your Inbox

Enter your email address to have new notes delivered to your inbox.

Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

You may also like...

16 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on The Political Social Worker and commented:
    “One thing I wish I’d learned in Social Work School”: A Follow-up

  2. A great collection of responses to an important question. Thanks, Relando!

    • And thank you Linda for all your help as I continue to make my way towards taking entrepreneurial action as it relates to social justice. I’m still reading those books on self-publishing that you recommended! :)

  3. I agree….this is a great collection of responses as well as insight on the needs of our profession. Great Piece!!!!

  4. Reblogged this on and commented:
    This is a great collection of responses by Professionals in our field which provides great insight on the needs of our profession. Great Piece!!!!

  5. Great post, Relando. What’s the group on LinkedIN. I’ve been looking for a good social work group.

    • Hey Michael, I shared my post across several groups on LinkedIN. I’m listing their names here:

      National Association of Social Workers – NASW’s Official Group


      Social Work and Media

      Social Work Network

      The New Social Worker Magazine

      Feel free to check them out. I know you’ll find plenty of colleagues to connect with.

  6. Susan Paul, BSW says:

    Thank you to Relando for generating this post; the responses are intriguing.

    My learning would have been enhanced if my undergraduate curriculum offered courses that addressed social economic injustices and economic empowerment. There is a growing consensus that social workers need more knowledge and skills regarding economic empowerment at the micro level in order to effectively promote financial literacy skills to help those we serve enhance their ability to establish or regain self-sufficiency.

    In addition, with the dual degree MSW/MBA programs offered today, I could have benefitted from talking courses in Economics as electives during my undergrad social work experience. Finance, administration and business management skills are important for social workers in non-profit sector and for those in the private sector. Also, there is an increase in the need for mental health professional to work with Employee Assistance Programs and then there are those who may want to branch out and run or work for a for-profit business. On a personal note, I often find myself consulting peers, colleagues and supervisors on marketing strategy projects though I have never taking any business classes.

    Social work transcends all sectors of the working world and understanding the economy to address challenges faced by individuals and organizations is of vital importance at the micro and macro levels of our society.

    Susan Paul, BSW
    San Diego, CA

    • Hey Susan,

      You are so right! The social work profession really does spread into all areas of society and we definitely need to increase our knowledge base and skill-set regarding how to address socioeconomic inequity and to empower the people we serve financially! Too often this is something that we learn after graduation, but I think steps should be taken to introduce these skills into the curriculum so that future social workers will be better equipped to handle these issues.

      I’m so glad you commented, and I hope that you will come back to share your thoughts in other posts as well.

  7. Hi,
    Nice blog,I really like it.
    Its awesome
    Thank you.
    Youth social worker

  8. I just couldn’t seem to get enough in community development theory. I probably should have just taken some courses in sociology. LOL

    • That wouldn’t have been a bad idea, as there is a great deal of similarity & overlap with Sociology and Social Work. I have always loved Social Work because I believe it embodies the application of sociology, psychology, health, and a variety of other disciplines. It is such a versatile, widely applicable field!

  1. November 12, 2012

    […] . – Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian […]

Share Your Thoughts: Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: