Belize Adventures

Saturday, November 24, 2007

application essay

well, i am at the parish on a sunny satruday afternoon, and i am supposed to be working on my social problem analysis for my application for the university of washington. yikes. instead, i thought i'd post something because it has been far too long since i have updated anyone on things.

as you may have guess, i have decided to apply to earn my masters of social work from the university of washington. yikes! i'm a bit stressed out trying to coordinate all the details of transcript requests and reference forms from belize, but everyone so far has been so accommodating, flexible, and encouraging. that has really helped.

i'm going to post a version of my application essay. it's certainly not a typical 'autobiographical statement.' i'm slightly nervous that it's not, but i can't seem to get away from this version because it encompasses so many of my true thoughts. i know it needs a lot of work before i can submit it and cross my fingers that the admissions committee thinks i am a stellar applicant. i'm open to thoughts, critiques (kind ones, please), and questions. i know i'll have to add things here and there to give it more context and have it make more sense and that will detract from the power that i think it has right now, but i recognize it has to follow some sort of guidelines. anyway, here it is. let me know what you think.

Why do I want to be a social worker?

Because this is it, right here, right now. I sit surrounded by others whose desire for social justice is so predominant that it compelled them to leave everything that was easy and comfortable for a place that is confusing, harsh, and completely different. For a place where we get harassed on a daily basis, where we are in a minority whose skin color stands for wealth and privilege, where we are completely dependent on those around us, those whom we have supposedly come to serve, where we don’t speak the language or know the customs but are warmly accepted into people’s homes and where those same people share food with us that was supposed to feed the family for a week.

Because my passion for social justice has had me to the corners of the earth so that I can hear people’s stories, sit with them in their homes, clasp their hands, and carry that, all that, in my own journey, my pursuit to understand and to serve and to work with those who have less than I.

Because after days and days of no results, or worse, major setbacks, Ms. Ruth shows up at my door handing me five Belize dollars towards her savings for a sink; her total is now 20 dollars.

Because even though Patrick was asked to leave his housing the day before, he finally received his first disability check from the V.A.

Because the achievements and accomplishments in my days are when Alice Mae attends the educational sessions, when Ms. Loretta finally talks to the primary school about their feeding program for Kalim, when Chiara, a 4 year old infected with HIV, plays with Amaya and K’zjon and gets a bath and a good lunch.

Because Christina, a 14 year old girl whose grandmother applied for a new roof for their mobile home as a present for her completion of 9th grade, taught me that ‘need’ isn’t strictly economic and that poverty exists in many forms.

Because these stories are from Belize, Oaxaca, Italy, Appalachia, Ecuador, Mauritania, and Seattle, where I have spent time in roles such as case manager, social worker, counselor, mentor, teacher, and friend.

Because not a day passes in which I am not shouted at, laughed at, or verbally harassed sake of my skin color and my gender and because I can say with certainty that I never want others to feel how this feels.

Because while working with developmentally disabled adults in Italy, the work and mental challenge was so great that I thought about leaving every single day for the first six weeks and because I stayed, I can say now that I would do it all over again for the chance to tie Vito’s shoe or chase Paolo down the path.

Because my clothes grow mold, cockroaches are the size of cell phones, and I don’t have enough money for milk, and at the end of the day, this is my home and these are my neighbors and if I have made one person feel valued then I have done well.

Because we’re all the same; we’re all human and we’re all deserving and because being a social worker and furthering my knowledge and my education in that field is the best way I know how to honor that.


Anonymous jenni lem said...

So why do you think you have to change it? Better to have your voice and passion heard than to fit inside a prescribed box. That's just my opinion.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

you are an amazing amazing person maria, and an inspiration to me!

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Vevay said...

Thanks for writing this.

6:08 PM  

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