UCDC Fall 2022: "They Are the Authors of Their Own Story"; Social Work isn't about 'Saving' People

December 19, 2022

My last few weeks in Washington, DC were full of uncertainty but I left with a few opportunities to consider in the future. Being in D.C. exposed me to unlimited possibilities, and the city itself was refreshing to live in for almost four months. I really enjoyed having access to free public transportation. It was very easy and simple to navigate the city with the help of Google maps of course.

Interning at HIPS this fall was an eye opening experience that taught me what I do and do not want to do in my future career. At the same time, being in such a space taught me how to work with people of different personalities, work ethic, and expectations. It gave me a better understanding of how to navigate the workplace and advocate for myself and others without lowering myself. Through my work at HIPS, I understood the importance of respecting individuals’ dignity by recognizing that they are the author of their own story. My role as a social worker in the future is to help those individuals achieve the goals they have set for themselves. Furthermore, interning at HIPS also allowed me to be more open to just listening to individuals express themselves without having to trigger their trauma. Being able to do that as an intern forced me to also rethink how to approach the field of social work. Before working with HIPS, I believed being a social worker meant “saving” my clients from their conflicts but that is not the mindset to have in such a field. The objective of the field is to find a middle ground that will allow clients to achieve their goals, helping is not the same as saving. 

As I return back to campus, I’m taking back with me gratitude; the new friends I have encountered, new views on career paths, better understanding of myself, and peace.