10 January, 2010

Back to Work

I start back at my internship with the local public agency tomorrow morning. This break wasn't as productive as I'd hoped and I'm happy to get back to work. Classes begin the following week. Not starting out with as much spunk as I'd hoped and that worries me.

My goals for this semester are to throw myself into the macro/meso-end of things. For our macro project, I'm developing a project to redesign our center's waiting room to make it humane, welcoming and user-friendly. The plan is for a mural project, more information accessible to walk-ins (not locked behind the counter), and overall simply a space that feels less like the waiting room at county lockup. The fact that people camp out at the door from as early as 1am never ceases to bother me; I think about it perhaps too much. I'll also be studying up on the budget - Aren't I a girl who knows a good time? - and attending some of the council meetings to see how things are actually accomplished within the agency. I'll also be making a bother of myself with the planning department to see how/if they actually work with neighborhoods. How does community development happen in this town? I also have to organize and implement a group project. No idea what it will be at the moment other than it will not be a therapy group. My God, aside from lacking any training, there's no way anyone in, well their right mind, would let me help them heal. Other than a training group, nobody has really given me much of a clue on other possibilities, so I've no idea what will come of the assignment.

While I still have to hit certain direct practice markers for the department and the CSWE, I am trying to find ways to make it my own. Since the people who come to the us seeking help really don't know what a social worker can do for them in the context of our agency any more than I do, I put forth the idea that I make like Lucy and set up shop amongst the people. For set times I'll just sit with everybody in the waiting room and talk to anybody who would like to talk. Some of the people seeking help are only waiting to get a letter stating they cannot receive help from our agency so they can take that letter to another agency to receive their help. No sense in those folks waiting all day for that. And no sense in some people waiting for weeks for an appointment with me. I just think it will feel a little more community oriented and less clinical. At least I hope so.

While this position has been interesting in many ways, it has certainly taught me that I am a field person, not an office person. Confinement, fluorescents and grey-beige walls kill the soul, at least mine. I also miss being so removed from people's lives. It may get a bit trying when everybody in the village is in your business, but there are few better things than sitting with the council, taking tea with the women, being invited to a wedding, roughhousing with kids or helping bring in the alfalfa crop. Still hope to get back to that.

We'll see what the next few months bring...

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