toni morrison (via thisisnotsocialwork)
all you TINSW followers who carelessly reblogged this when i posted it four months-ish ago, where are you now? i want you to share your stories of how you got into your program, i want you to share your resources. all of yall that now have jobs, how’d you get it? how in the hell did you even get through your program? what were your strategies? how’d you get funded? do you have templates that you think will be helpful (resume, cover letter, scholarship essay etc)?
sharing resources is radical and revolutionary as fuck, even when working within the belly of the beast, the non-profit industrial complex!
unfollow me if you’re just reblogging my shit and not deeply asking yourself how you can put into practice, honor the knowledge of black women you’re consuming through my tumblr so you can feel good about yourself.
I think I’ve kinda touched on some of these through past posts, but I want to share what I’ve learned and how I’ve gotten through the first year of my program in one post (to the best that I can.)
In all honesty, I only applied to two programs which were known for being really good for their clinical training. One in-state and one out-of-state. I was going to apply to another because of the option to get a dual masters in Asian American Studies too, but I got kinda intimidated by their applications site which said that those admitted in their program usually had at least 5-7 years of experience. Looking back, I felt I should have at least put forth the effort to apply especially because it was in another state that I had wanted to move to since college. I ended up getting accepted to both the programs that I applied and chose the out-of-state one. I was feeling stuck and not in a good mental state where I was from so I decided going away to get my MSW would be helpful for my growth.
It was extremely hard at the beginning and I was so homesick for the first month. Seeking out community was really important in helping me get through and grad school. Thankfully I already had some friends here because of conferences where we met, so they were a community I already had here thankfully. I also had some tumblr friends here that I finally met! I was also fortunate enough able to connect with some awesome folks in the community through my first field placement site at a LGBTQ non-profit. I also got referred to Hmong Asian Pacific Islander LGBTQ org here where I also made a group of really cool supportive friends who are also into community work and social justice. I also connected with some orgs at other campuses and was able to find some Filipino American community which was so validating (especially since I can be the only Filipino in every space I inhabit for days.) I also got invited to be part of a cohort of counselors, therapists, students, and other kinds of healers of color which has also been a great source of support. After going through three semesters together, I felt closer with my classmates and they increasingly became more of a support to me, even if our schedules meant that we could only see each other on class weekends.
Because community was so important to me in terms of nourishing myself, I made sure to schedule time with friends and community every week. This also meant scheduling time to talk to friends and family back home. Even if my family wasn’t here with me, their emotional and financial support kept me going on. I am so thankful for my family’s financial and material support because that was one area I didn’t have to constantly stress about while pursuing my studies. I had to take loans though to cover my tuition. While I didn’t have to take out any extra private loans, I wish I had devoted more time before my move to research scholarship opportunities and deadlines.
While these helped me get through my first year, I did burn out going into my spring semester. I had to learn which battles to fight, strive to do what was good enough for the program and not perfection, and remember to practice self-care. I tried to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night, made sure I ate enough for the day, take time to meditate and be mindful, and also exercise when I got the chance. I also had to deal with a lot of anxiety that I had only just started working on a year before I started my program so I ended up seeing a counselor at school to get more support on that. Utilizing my advisor (who was also one of the few male professors of color in my program) was also very helpful, but now he’s left for a position elsewhere so I can’t go to him anymore. Talking with my field supervisor at my last field placement was also affirming and validating because we were able to not only talk about our experiences in school, but also about possibilities of work in macro social work and discussing licensing.
That’s all my brain can come with now after a kinda long day, but if anyone’s got any questions on how I made it through, hit up my ask!
I ask Crenshaw if she is aware that across the UK, many are now identifying as intersectional feminists. “Yeah,” she laughs. “I heard about that about four months ago. That intersectionality was being used as an adjective or a noun – a kind of feminist. It’s interesting. I’ve never called myself an intersectional feminist. I’m a black feminist that does intersectional work. I don’t have a strong sense one way or the other about how people self-identify.”
Yet, on this concerted effort to name a different kind of feminism, Crenshaw is optimistic. “I know that some people say ‘why do you have to call yourself a black feminist?’ Why can’t you just call yourself a feminist that does work that acknowledges the role of race in shaping the lives of women? So I do think that there is something being signalled by what you choose to call yourself. I hear that that signal is about one’s openness and inclusivity.
“I tend to focus more on what is the praxis. Can you tell the difference from an intersectional feminist project or organisation from one that is not, by the scope of the things that are done, by the analysis that looks at gender in relation to other systems of power and privilege? By the practice of how the groups that work together are constituted? I can image that there are intersectional feminists that actually do intersectional work, and intersectional feminists that are not doing that work. There are feminist groups that don’t call themselves intersectional that do the work.
“It’s useful to acknowledge that there is at least a move in consciousness away from the belief that just saying feminist necessarily entails articulating a perspective and a set of values that do attend to race, and culture and class and sexuality. That’s a move that wasn’t done 30 years ago, and it wasn’t done 20 years ago. I think that there are pieces of it that are worth thinking very carefully about. But the end of that can’t simply be ‘ok, yay, it’s all on a banner’. It’s about what is enacted under it.”
I <3 Crenshaw
seriously. white supremacist capitalist thinking loves plastering new labels on shit that is fundamentally rotten. no new self identity is going to replace the need to actually do the work.