I think we all have it in us, the genuine desire to help others. Some develop this skill and turn it into a profession, some try to help but focus on achieving other goals in life, and there are people who would like to help, but are in pain themselves and need support from others. I would like to join the first group. I have the capacities to help; I have skills and a desire to learn, and I am passionate about becoming a social worker. I see my future in counseling, and I also see worthy reasons for pursuing my dream.
Whenever I think of my choice, I believe I have made it a very long time ago and waited for the right opportunity to make it come true. As a child, I saw the ugly face of a disaster. I lived in a post-Chernobyl country in a difficult period of changes; people had few means to survive, and the catastrophe, as well as its implications, made the dark times even darker. The society of my childhood was in huge pain because there experienced a lack of resources, lack of communication and cooperation between the people and the government, and a lack of qualified professionals, who could help those in need. People suffered psychological traumas because of the accident. Many lost their beloved ones; many families were struggling because their children got sick due to the Chernobyl explosion. The overall atmosphere was marked by depression and pessimism. I remember myself living in that community; I was a part of the grief and desperately desired to make a change. Even when I was a child, I managed to understand the difficulties my fellows experienced; at the time, I understood that it was possible to address these problems with the help of communication. I communicated with my peers; I spoke with seniors. I tried to make a meaningful conversation and lasting connection with every person that I met on my way. I learned that through genuine interest, empathy, and desire to help, any person could make a difference even in the darkest of times.
After I had left Belarus to pursue my modeling career, I did not lose touch with the community and continued caring deeply for my people and their suffering. My desire to help and my abilities to do so made me act, strive more and do my best to bring a positive change. I chose law for my first degree because I thought it would be a good path towards my goals. I must admit that studying law helped me to understand important processes in the government and society as a whole. It was an important step on my professional path; still, it was the first one. I realized that I needed more to achieve the goals that I had set for myself; it means getting a proper education and becoming a social worker. I believe that, with my background in law and my experience in Belarus, I could combine skills and passion into something beneficial for the sake of people.
My childhood memories helped me choose my path, while my parents encouraged my desire to help. It is my lifetime goal to ease people’s pain and help more individuals develop healthy relations with themselves just as it was my goal many years ago in post-Chernobyl Belarus.
As a former model, I used to travel all over the world and saw many places, and all of them reminded me of Belarus for a single reason. All these places needed professionals, who could address specific issues within their societies and work with groups, who needed help the most. The lack of such professionals (as was the case in Belarus) always changes the community for the worse. I, on the contrary, wish to make a community better. I am passionate about people, and I believe each person has a story to tell. My talent is to listen and to understand, and I would like to invest it into something worthy and important. I see how I can do my best in the field of social work, and I also understand that it is the area where I will benefit as much as the people I want to work with will do. It is my self-fulfilling path that I had chosen it when I was little. Up to this day, I have never thought of anything more important than helping others and providing professional support to the needy. I understand that it is a difficult and very responsible job, but it is also the job that I have always desire; today, I am ready to explore and go forward.
Helping people may take many unbelievable forms; who else but knew it for sure. There were numerous situations when I got help from an unexpected source, and there were situations when my involvement had helped others greatly. Such instances occurred very early in my life when I lived in Belarus; then, I followed my curious yet kind self in order to help others in a childish and naive way. I got to use my skills throughout my life, and I am constantly working on improving those abilities and enriching my knowledge.
I consider myself a good listener; in many ways, it is a result of my previous work. I worked as a model, and models have to listen and analyze. Their job is to be able to make conclusions quickly based on what a photographer says and understand the slightest hints even when they cannot participate in the conversation. I always enjoy communicating with people and listening to their stories; in my modeling days, I would hear a great deal more. As I traveled around the world, I met many people and made friends with people from the same sphere. Many of my colleagues had eating disorders, which ruined them, but seemingly helped in their careers. I knew a girl, who later became my friend, who suffered from such a problem. It was a work-related and rather common practice in the industry so, even if people knew about it, they did not take it seriously. Many people also believed it was the way to succeed in this profession. I, however, had a different conviction. I had seen the suffering before, and I was determined to stop it in any form. I turned from a stranger into an acquaintance, and from there, I became a companion, a person, who could listen without judging and help a person in need face important things and admit a problem. The girl did not simply need treatment from a doctor; she needed strong mental support and someone, with whom to communicate. I became such a person to her. Due to my ability to listen and rich experience of working with many people, I was able to become just the right person. As a result, she managed to overcome her eating disorder, and her example encouraged other people in the sphere. Afterward, I communicated with many people, and I always felt the same genuine desire to help and learn something about the human soul in the process.
The experience taught me a lot about myself and only strengthened my desire to pursue a career in social work. Besides listening skills, I realized that I was a good analyst, and I had a structured mind that could differentiate between various pieces of information. This ability is very important when communicating with people and processing large amounts of personal data. A personal trait that I find essential for my future career is empathy. It was an initial reason that made me want to help, and it was the driving force that made me care for many others. I care about people and will never stand back when I can help. Moreover, I am brave enough to reach out to them. Still, I wish I was braver back in the past than I would have pursued my goals and dreams earlier. However, I am eager to attain them now and apply the skills that I have for this aim.
I am a passionate and eager learner who craves knowledge and loves to communicate with people, who can teach me something. I respect other points of view and speak my mind with consideration to the feelings of others. I consider these attributes important for a social worker. I also think that my experience is an important asset in the future profession. In the past, I lived in different places, spoke different languages, and met different people. All these encounters taught me greatly and widened my worldview. I am capable of approaching people with an open mind, eagerness, and empathy to make the change and using my skills for benefit of others. I believe those attributes will guide me further on my way to helping others just like they did to me in the past.
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Although social problems often depend on a specific country, through my experience, I have noticed that many of them are universal. Such issues as climate change, hunger, racism, and drug use are common in every country that I have visited. During my studies, I started to reflect on these issues more thoroughly and focused on finding effective ways to address them. When I enrolled in a post-baccalaureate certificate program in psychology, I got a chance to apply new skills and knowledge in solving problems that worried me. However, as there are no easy solutions, I am still curious and passionate about many issues and ways to deal with them.
The social issue that I am the most concerned about is race relations or, more specifically, the lack of healthy relationships between races. I had never thought much about this problem before I moved to the United States and became a citizen of this country. I come from Belarus where the majority of the population is white, and where most people share the same beliefs and worldviews. When I came to America, I faced diversity that I had never seen before. The country seemed to be a perfect place with its slogans of equality and respect. However, the reality, as I learned later, was not as positive because of many racial problems that made the country suffer. The discrimination is not limited to skin color only; unhealthy relations between people, who have different backgrounds, faiths, appearance, and views, are also common. As a person, who comes from a post-Soviet and a post-Chernobyl country, I feel like I am one of those, who may not share the beliefs of the present majority. However, I was lucky enough to avoid any kind of discrimination, and I am grateful to the people, who made my life in the United States full of great opportunities and experience. Nevertheless, I know that many people are deprived of many chances because of their race, and there are many verbal and physical conflicts that happen on a racial basis. What is the most terrifying fact is the development of a deep hatred that is based on racial conflicts and negative relations that become a part of society. When it happens, people do not even need to insult one another to start a conflict; the latter is already there in the form of prejudice, stereotypes, and general distrust of one group to another. It is a disturbing issue that takes place all over the United States, which is supposed to be a harbor of equality and peace. I can see it when different social groups interact, and when they are unable to establish healthy communication with one another. This vice impacts each and every individual in the group because a person shoulders a big amount of hatred, and every decision or statement one makes reflects the pressure of mutual hatred.
I see the source of the social problem in the issues that have existed for centuries. The problems of slavery, racism and segregation were not addressed properly at the national level, and more importantly, they were often ignored by local administrations. As a result, there was no all-inclusive integration, and different groups of people kept on living to themselves with limited or no interactions with those different from them. The current hatred is a result of mutual misunderstanding and lack of communication; the troubled race relations are consequences of ignorance and inability to communicate.
I believe that this social issue can be solved with time with the right approach and determination. It can be done through counseling, a profession that I desire to master. Counselors are people who can be bridges of communication; however, first of all, they can help people address their inner problems and confess them to themselves. For counseling to work, a mutual agreement should be reached at the national level; it should be a political will and a will of locals, and it can be done through education and knowledge sharing. The counselors also can contribute to the latter because they can reach out to their communities and make small, but yet valuable changes.