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Self-Care Life Long Learning

Crystal S. Wieczorek (00266867)

University of South Carolina

Doctor Susan Parlier

September 18, 2015


Self-Care Lifelong Learning

Social work is a challenging career that demands a substantial amount from those who

choose to pursue it. Grise-Owens (n.d.) compares it to a road trip stating: You explore new

vistas and have life-changing adventures (p. 1). I will use her road trip tips as a way to explore

how I will face the challenges of pursuing social work and balancing life in the process.

I Drive

One of the first tips suggested is that I am ultimately in charge of whether I succeed or

not (Grise-Owens, n.d.). I have to set expectations that I can achieve or follow to be successful.

My goal for my education is to work diligently for high grades and learn as much as possible.

The unrealistic expectations that I have set are expecting to get As in all my classes. I am

beginning to realize that there is not enough time to commit equally to all responsibilities. For

example, I have a four-year-old daughter to take care of and my husband will be deploying

shortly. We are a military family and just moved to South Carolina last year, and I do not have

any family nearby. In the creation of my goals I have to adjust for time with my daughter, and

opportunities for school obligations. The next six months will be difficult because I will be

parenting alone. As a way to cope, I will be prioritizing and adjusting for shortcomings. The

self-care plan that I want to implement will be setting aside time to decompress and utilizing my

social support system. Cournoyer (2014) suggests that social workers who have strong support

systems more easily cope with the stresses and demands of the practice (p. 46). The allowance

of time for decompression will allow me to recharge.

Do Not Travel Alone


The second tip that Grise-Owens (n.d.) emphasizes working with classmates and utilizing

them to accomplish required tasks. I have collected phone numbers from individuals in some of

my classes, and we remind each other daily of assignments ahead. One of my classmates

recently reminded me of an assignment I misread and almost forgot to accomplish. In one of my

classes I divide readings with a friend so that we can finish homework faster. I plan to use my

support system to talk through stress and reach out to for help with classwork. One of the things

I learned in the military is you never know when you will need somebody for something so if

you can help someone you should. I usually offer help if I understand a concept because I know

when I need assistance people will be willing be more willing to offer help. Cournoyer (2014)

acknowledges that to be an authentic social worker an individual must be straightforward, open,

and honest to the people they interact with (p. 23). If I put my most genuine self forward, I can

expand my support system.

Too Many Passengers or Baggage

The third tip is to limit the people and tasks that I take on in my life (Grise-Owens, n.d.).

I will have to downsize my obligations for other opportunities to take place. People that cause

me problems are individuals who make demands of me but are absent when I need something

from them. I will handle this issue by not accepting individuals into my life that are taking

advantage of me. I have to accept that the social work program will reintroduce some baggage

from my past that I will have to confront. Brickman & Campbells call this process adaptation

theory of well-being; a way in which people adapt and change to fit environments (as cited in

Cournoyer, 2014, p. 132). I will have to change so that I can adapt and grow as a human being.

I will handle this task by setting time aside for reflection, and place levels of importance on what

needs to be accomplished.

Have an Itinerary

The fourth road trip tip is to intenerate my life to allow for stops along the way (Grise-

Owens, n.d.). My particular plan to keep myself healthy is to allow time in my schedule for self-

care such as working out for at least an hour every other day. When my husband deploys, I plan

on waking up earlier to get my workout routines in to alleviate stress. To ensure I stay grounded,

I will utilize my support system to send reminders of tasks in classes ahead. I will know when I

am off track because I will start to get overwhelmed and helpless about circumstances. In any

case, I will put time aside each month to get ahead in classes so that I may have a day or two free

of obligations.

Prepare For Car Trouble

The fifth tip accentuates being ready to use resources available when running into issues

(Grise-Owens, n.d.). The resources that I will need to use as I continue in my endeavors are

those that assist academically in the school and references I have at my disposal. Some of the

resources I have already utilized include disability services, career center, and the writing center.

When I am at home, I use resources online such as writing guides, thesaurus, and reference

books. I find resources by seeking them out as I need them. In times of distress, I can identify

when to seek out needs that are not readily available. The few times that I have gone to

counseling were when I realized that I needed a little bit more assistance. I can self-identity


Ask for Directions

The sixth tip is to realize when I require help and reach out to those around me (Grise-

Owens, n.d.). One of the biggest things that I will need help with is balancing time between my

daughter and school. I feel the guilt that Grise-Owens (n.d.) mentions in the paper about a

mother who feels terrible about splitting time between her school and family. When I ask

somebody to watch my daughter I feel guilt even though they offered to help. I feel like I am

putting the individual out when I look to them for assistance. Some people that I will ask for

help are a babysitter nearby and new friends that I have made. I will utilize my husbands help

once he gets back from deployment. I have not lived near family since my daughter was born,

and I continue to struggle with figuring out whom I can rely on outside of them. I rely on certain

friends that I have for help with my daughter because I am cautious of whom I entrust to watch


Keep My Ize on the Prize

The seventh trip tip alludes to maintaining a schedule that can be followed to make things

less overwhelming (Grise-Owens, n.d.). I prioritize the assignments that I must do according to

their due date. If I finish them ahead of schedule, I try to get a head start on readings for next

week. The more I accomplish, the more time I can commit to spending with my family or

getting housework done. If I read a certain amount of pages, I will sometimes reward myself

with watching one show at night. Each week I make a list of the assignments I need to finish for

the week and cross them off. These tasks aid in the process of self-understanding by

alleviating the stress that can in turn negatively effect my environment (Cournoyer, 2014, p. 38).

Follow the Road Rules

Trip number eight is a reminder to respect the teachers and refer to the rules in place

outlined in syllabi or handbooks (Grise-Owens, n.d.). One of the other things I may refer to are

the core competencies which Cournoyer (2014) calls the practice knowledge and the practice

behaviors associated with social work (p. ix). All of the classes that I have refer to the core

competencies of social work. The rules of the program I will need to follow are to be courteous

to my teachers and refer to instructions and handouts in time of confusion. I am already

following this plan by looking through my syllabus every week and outlining assignments.

Enjoy the Journey

The ninth trip tip points out that it is important to enjoy the process of gaining the social

work degree (Grise-Owens, n.d.). I plan to enjoy the journey by putting myself out there and

learning as much as I can. I am enjoying the classes that I am in currently and have made some

good friends through the program. The most exciting part of taking these classes is learning

about other people and how they came to pursue this degree plan. I will try to make a lot of good

friends to ease the stress of the journey. I hope that I can help others out and in turn rely on them

when I need them.

Travel On!

The tenth and the final trip tip is about celebrating milestones and enjoying the stages that

lead up to them (Grise-Owens, n.d.). My plans once I receive my BSW degree will be to get

ready for MSW classes. I also plan to celebrate with friends after all the hard work. My goals

for now are to work hard enough to get all my assignments in ahead of time. Another objective

is to make a good impression on the places that I do field hours and internship. To attain my

goals for the future I need to prioritize my time, take breaks, build my support, and enjoy the



In closing, I hope to make this experience with social work as rewarding as humanly

possible. With the help of these ten tips, I know that even though I may struggle I will achieve

the goals I outlined in the beginning. I am excited to learn about everything that social work has

to offer and discover new things about myself in the process.



Cournoyer, B. R. (2014). The social work skills workbook, 7th Ed. Belmont, Calif.:

Brooks/Cole-Thomson Learning. ISBN: 9781285177199, ix-132.

Grise-Owens, E. (n.d.) Traveling toward a social work degree: 10 road-tested trip-tips. The

New Social Worker Online. Found at