Waypoints: Plotting a course to calling Waypoint 3: Gordon College
Waypoint 3 – Adelphi University, Bayport, NY
I returned to Long Island to pursue my MSW from a rather prestigious clinical social work school (ranked in top ten of all CSW schools). I purposed to develop my counseling skills and hone them as sharp as I could get them academically. I learned clinical counseling in many different modalities as well as social planning and community organization. I interned at Hope House Ministries, which gave me an opportunity to work at a men’s homeless shelter, and counsel individuals, couples, groups and families in a faith based counseling center.
My church experience during this time was one of learning about church services, helping read scripture from the pulpit. I was an AWANA leader where I was asked to run the AWANA Olympics for the church and quickly learned that even if I win Gold, parents will be mad at me for something, even if by rules I had to give each person a certain amount of games regardless of their abilities. I found that sometimes its better to let someone else handle an argument when there is nothing you can fix about it and that supervisors can help or harm your ministry effectiveness. Much of my leadership skills were developed at FBC was an Assistant Sunday School Superintendent where I learned how to influence my department from beneath. Helping the Superintendent develop the department and help him gain some better understandings of the sentiments in the departments and navigate some landmines of ministry such as poor communication and ingratitude. It also helped me be a better politician, meaning that it helped me work with those in power and who had known me forever and to relate to them in ways that let much of the power structures and respect in place, yet let me get my tasks, such as creating a summer adult Sunday school curriculum and teaching roster, accomplished.
Developmental Disabilities Institute
Vocationally, I was employed at Developmental Disabilities Institute. One summer as a teacher’s aide, then was hired post graduation as a Medicaid Service Coordinator. I learned about applied behavioral analysis and how it impacts the residents I worked for. This translates into being able to look at the environment and antecedents to people’s behaviors and dissect how environment and other factors that can contribute to behaviors, good or bad. This is where my best examples of collegial work atmosphere and teamwork in the workplace come from. Give and Take, scheduling, compromise working in my own department and as an auditor of group homes helped me understand how to deal with people from different walks of life and get results from them. The practice of treating colleagues as clients is a concept that is taught in social work and came in handy on several occasions.
Bartering and compromise is essential for any relationship. Darcy and I did this in our pursuing careers and separating from each other and plan to get back with each other. The deal we made was that she would go to Maine to finish her BSN and I would go to New York for my MSW. The person who wrapped up their degree the fastest would move to the other. I finished my MSW in a full year and I moved soon thereafter to Portland, Maine.