Today marks the day I submit my grad school application for Social Work and thought it would be fitting to have my personal statement be my very first blog post. It has been way too long since I've written an academic paper, but I decided to speak from the heart and hope for God's best!
“Behind every great man is an even greater woman” and to ensure that stands true for generations to come, the need to empower women has been stirring and burning in my heart. We live in a world filled with broken perspectives and unjust stereotypes: woman, the apple of a man’s eye; woman, a creature who makes decisions based on emotions; woman, a burden because of financial and physical dependency. In turn, many of them find themselves trapped in sex trafficking, domestic violence, drug addiction, or simply unhealthy environments (in their workplace, home, or social settings). Through personal struggles and encounters, one-on-one and small group mentorship, and spiritual growth and maturity, I came to understand the importance of being an advocate for social change by extending compassion and rehabilitation to others.
I found myself working with more and more women at church, workplace, and mission/volunteer fields, and through those experiences, I came to realize that something was fanning the flame to my newfound passion and desire in life—raising up women of strength and dignity. People will most often find me chasing the next extreme endeavor like sky diving or rock climbing, spending quality time with people over a delicious meal, or striving to meet the needs of my neighboring community by helping them discover their hidden beauty and talent. In spring of 2014, a friend and I started a “Do It Yourself” group that not only focused on DIY projects, but also created a safe place for the ladies to be vulnerable about their personal struggles. While making jewelry, gardening, and restoring furniture, we were able to have increasingly open conversations, and I saw the healing process take place within the women of our group. Educating the youth has been abundantly rewarding the past 11 years, but helping women discover their inner beauty and self-worth was now taking precedence.
In my classroom full of 5th graders, I would explain that social workers are like superheroes: They save lives from dangerous situations, they have supernatural powers to love beyond measure, and they may even have the ability to read minds because they give the best advice. Social workers have the capacity and perseverance to contend for change because they elevate service to others above self-interest. They are equipped to handle many tough situations with sensitivity due to their knowledge of cultural diversity and oppression. The respect for human relationships and awareness of professional mission, values, and ethical principles equip social workers to be consistent, competent, and compassionate. My tenacious yet empathetic spirit will serve me well as I journey through a new career path. I am confident I can boldly face new and unknown challenges drawing from my previous work experiences and other pertinent personal life experiences. Having worked with children that struggled with anxiety, loneliness, abandonment, and depression, I came to understand the importance of addressing the underlying cause—generational behavioral problems. The healing process needed to begin with the parents. My hopes are to help women break free from unhealthy emotional, mental, and physical strongholds so the burden will not be passed on to the next generation.
The more I experience life, the more I appreciate and value education. I have gained a wealth of knowledge from both University of California, Irvine as an undergraduate student and Pepperdine University as a graduate student. At UCI, I was a young naïve college student, who had broken free from the chains of overly protective parents. I had attempted to balance school-work, social life, a part-time job, and church volunteering duties. The juggling of responsibilities led me to compromise my academic performance. After facing many ups and downs, I eventually learned how to effectively manage my time and reprioritize my life. Shortly after, I decided to apply for a Master's in Education. My passion for teaching first ignited in 7th grade when I had the opportunity to be a teacher’s assistant for a special education class. It was through this experience, that I discovered I was destined to make a difference in society, and I would do this by nurturing the minds of young children. It was during my graduate studies that I came to understand what it means to be a lifelong learner, and it is up to me, an individual, to strive and thirst for more wisdom, more experiences, and more discipline.
Of course everything in life comes at a cost, and some people may think pursuing another Master’s degree means I will be adding another load of financial burden onto what already exists, but I have a different perspective. I understand that I am investing into my future mission field and obtaining a Master's in Social Work will equip me to build more awareness, strategies, and capacity to love people with authenticity and vigilance, regardless of age and gender. I know the process will be arduous at times, but I am more confident that every lecture, project, and assignment will be worth it because in the end, these tasks will provide the necessary tools for me to be an efficient agent for change in an ever-changing world.
I'm using this space to simply share the meaningful things that burn my heart and the random things that run through my mind. Simply desiring more vulnerability and authenticity in my life.