last day of grad school!

Today was the last day of two years of social work grad school classes.
The last hour of my last class was spent talking about international adoption. Pretty fitting, considering international adoption is the interest that originally brought me to pursue a Master’s of social work. And when I reflect on all that has transpired since that original seed of an idea, I am taken aback. Truly.

In December of 2009, I posed this simple question. I remember distinctly sitting at my desk at Iowa State and feeling an ache to do something a degree in journalism and art wasn’t going to provide.  [Jane, thank you for answering me! I Googled a Master’s in social work all evening long after you responded!]

And then there was this post, possibly the first time I struggled with the pull between doing what people expected and making a life change that I knew God was calling me to. [A struggle that continues to pop up. And I’m determined to choose the latter again and again.] When I was home for Thanksgiving break, I had asked my dad to go out to lunch with me, so I could tell him my plans. I cried a lot. Because this little heart sometimes really struggles to make big decisions in God’s name. I do like what is comfortable quite a bit.

And then this post, when I said it and did it once and for all. I seriously believed I wouldn’t get into any of the schools I applied to, but I was so, so hopeful. I was blessed to be accepted to all of them. I got stressed about the decision, but after visiting a few, I found an unspeakable peace about moving to St. Louis and attending Washington University. I truly believe this will not be the only time I move to a place where I know a maximum of three people to a pursue a desire I have found placed in my mind and on my heart by being far bigger than me.

It has been in these past two years that I met some of my best friends, my wonderful husband, and became a part of a church that I love and respect deeply. I have found that there a many, many topics within social work that I enjoy and many jobs I’d be happy to have. And cheeseball as this is, I discovered who I really was once all the friends, family, and surroundings I had known were taken away. 

And more than anything, I’ve discovered that these skills I’ve learned and this knowledge I’ve gained can be applied to all of life. I’ll apply it to my interactions with friends, my interactions with people who don’t look like me, my interactions with the communities I live in, and my interactions with my family and future family. If someday I’m not a social worker in career sense, I know I’ll be a social worker in all other areas of my life.

So, even if I don’t have a job in international adoption — even if I never have my dream job — I know what I’ve learned and the person I’ve become in the past two years is something that will stay with me for years and years to come. 


5 thoughts on “last day of grad school!

  1. Hey – that’s me! It’s been so much fun watching the last couple years of your life on the blog (and seeing you a couple times and keeping posted from my various Askren sources…) Glad I helped!

  2. CONGRATULATIONS dear Natalie, I’m so grateful for God’s provision in your life…..I am humbly PROUD of you!

  3. Hey Natalie! I just started following your blog. 🙂 While I did not get my mater’s degree, I studied sociology and psychology at ISU. My dream was to be a counselor, but God never led me to go to grad school. However, I now get to be a counselor EVERY DAY, in my OWN HOME, with MY OWN KIDS. While very hard at times, it is the best job ever! I look forward to how God will lead and guide your steps. And I’m looking forward to keeping up with your journey on your blog. Congrats on graduating!

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