Embarking on my college journey at the University of Illinois, I initially pursued Speech and Hearing Sciences before finding my true calling in Social Work. Driven by a passion for helping others, I delved into the realm of Social Work while also gaining insights into adult development through a minor in Adult Development. 

The University of Illinois campus felt like home from the moment I set foot on it, with its vibrant acapella scene and welcoming community. Engaging in acapella groups provided me with a sense of belonging and allowed me to continue a cherished high school activity. 

Transitioning into the School of Social Work, I found myself in an environment characterized by small classes and personalized attention from dedicated professors like Dr. Janet Carter-Black and Carol Wilson Smith. Their guidance and expertise reshaped my understanding of social work, instilling in me a deeper appreciation for the transformative impact it can have on individuals and communities. 

My academic journey culminated in a rewarding internship at Rosecrance, facilitated by the School of Social Work, where I gained hands-on experience in outpatient care and group facilitation. This internship laid the foundation for my current role at Northwestern Medicine, where I assist clients in accessing vital community resources and provide support in navigating the complexities of behavioral health. 

One of the defining aspects of the Social Work program at U of I is its flexibility, allowing students to tailor their educational experience to align with their interests and career aspirations. This freedom empowered me to pursue a pathway as a case manager in the social work field , where I play a crucial role in helping patients cope with diagnoses, navigate financial challenges, and access necessary support services. 

Despite the misconceptions surrounding social work, I am committed to challenging stereotypes and showcasing the diverse range of opportunities within the field. My work in medical social work underscores the multifaceted nature of social work, highlighting its pivotal role in facilitating holistic patient care and addressing critical social determinants of health. 

Looking ahead, I aspire to further my education through graduate school and explore new opportunities within larger hospital systems. The dynamic nature of social work affords me the flexibility to adapt and evolve within the field, ensuring that I continue to make meaningful contributions to the well-being of others. 

Reflecting on my college experience, I emphasize the importance of attending classes and remaining open to change. Advisors are invaluable resources in navigating academic and career pathways, offering guidance and support every step of the way. Embracing change and pursuing one's passions are key to unlocking the boundless potential within oneself. 

As I continue my journey in social work, I am filled with optimism and determination, knowing I can effect positive change and make a difference in the lives of those I serve.