Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'm scared y'all

I have a big decision to make and it's pretty unnerving. 

I have a Master's Degree is Social Work and I currently work as a Probation Officer (juvenile).  My clients (all male) are on the high end of the offenses scale so I supervise kids who commit felony charges (sex offenders, murderer, armed offenses, etc).   I enjoy working with this population.  I actually wanted to work as a probation officer since I was a teenager.  So now that I'm here, and have been here for six years, I feel like I'm not effective.
photo credit

Why am I ineffective?  Because by the time one of these kids come to me, they've probably been in crisis for years.  They've not been going to school regularly for months.  They had been smoking marijuana for quite some time.  It has been instilled in them for years that very little is expected of them and from them.  So then,  then get arrested and a file with their name lands on my desk and all of a sudden, I'm supposed to "fix" them. Huh???

So this has been bothering me for a while.  I love working with these kids, but I feel like it's just a revolving door until they graduate into the big leagues.  So I want to work with them in school.  In a school setting, I'd see them more than the 30 minutes (max) a week that I spend with my clients right now.

See full size imageSo, it looks like I'm headed back to school. I plan to pursue my PhD in Psychology.  I want to be a School Psychologist.  I scared.  I'm afraid of failure.  I know it's going to take time.  It's going to be expensive.  I plan to have a baby sometime in the mix. I don't know if I can get it all done.  I know lot of people are full time students, full time parents and work full time, so it's definitely possibly.  I hope I can do it do.  photo credit


  1. Thank you for caring about this group of people. After visiting in prisons for 20 years and working on criminal defense cases I feel just as you do. By the time a kid gets caught up in the "justice" system it's almost too late. The only thing you can do is mitigate the damage. This at-risk group of people need much earlier intervention, and I commend you for wanting to help.

  2. love how we stumble upon each other...serendipity! you were one ahead of me in SITS - congratulations!

    I have a lot to say about this...hope its okay.

    FIRST, you should know that I'm a mom who's son killed himself at 23.

    Tweak your direction if it feels right, but leave your heart exactly where it is. VISUALIZE you making a difference in them. SEE the success. Maybe you don't realize the impact. Maybe someone didn't kill themselves because of YOU (hey, this is my fantasy)

    I think YOU'RE amazing..but thats not important. why wouldn't you succeed.? what is failure? why not dip your toe in, see how it feels and go from there.

    as a mother who's son was troubled...THANK YOU for caring and spending time with the boys who go astray... they ALL have goodness in them.

    Best to you, Shannon aka Green Monkey

  3. commenting back :)
    thanks i love all my tattoos! my calf is a bit swollen now and my son scratched me trying to pull himself up but it's all good :P

    i've backread some of your blog and i love it. you have a new follower. will be looking forward to hearing about this new journey you are thinking of taking. i have many friends in that field and you'll do well :) you give such a great service back i take my hat off to you!

  4. This is an amazing post. I love the freedom that blogging gives to be honest with yourself and with people that you don't know! I think my friends would be surprised by some of the things they'd learn about me if they read my blog.

    I think you're amazing for working as a Probation Officer, and I'm sure that it must be hard to see kids like that day after day and not being able to 'help' get them back on track. My hat's off to you - you are stronger than I.

    You left a comment on my blog this morning so I wanted to say hello - I'm following now :)

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I worked with at-risk teenagers in a high school for a while, and as you said, I felt after a while that many of them were so far along by the time I got them. I had a couple very rewarding students, where I could tell I made a difference, but many many frustrating days with others.

  6. Thank you so much for stopping by from SITS.

    Wow I did my MBA a few years ago and I was a Mom with a full time job. My family was great but it was hard. I cried, cursed myself and screamed many days, but I got through it all.

    You will too. Go for it.

  7. I know that everything will find its place and you will be able to do all that you want. In life there are no impossibles or limits, unless you set them yourself.. I bet you'll become a great mother & psychologist!

    You sound like such a caring person for the work you've done.

    Good luck!!

  8. Thank you Ladies. Your words really helped me. It both helped me consider that I might be making a positive impact now and be optimistic about my future endeavor. Dee, thanks for putting you experience out there. You are one of those people I was talking about. Good to "meet" one.

  9. You can do anything you put your mind to.
    The fact you are already in this field says alot.
    You already know it will take a few years to get the "papers" for it, but you already have the background and from what I have read in the last while on here, the heart for it.

  10. that is so exciting! i can't wait till i'm able to go back to school. and what a noble reason for doing so. the kids in that population are so underserved (my husband used to work for a state-run agency that dealt with that type of thing), and there's so much that can be done before they get the point where they need a PO. way to go.

    good luck with the admissions process, etc!

  11. Thanks for stopping by my little blog! I wanted to say, I graduated from an inner city high school, and it broke my heart how many young men ended up in a bad place. Between the year I graduated and 1 year later, 5 boys and 1 girl I knew were stabbed or shot to death. So many more ended up in jail. They weren't violent kids, most of them just were in wrong place, wrong time. Others just didn't know what else they could do with their lives. I was one of the lucky ones who got out of the neighborhood and found a safe, solid life. I love that you're wanting to step in earlier, because I know that one person can make a huge difference.

  12. I'm so glad that you posted this. I planning (thinking of) going back to school. I'm scared to death! It's all of the what if's that are haunting me. It all comes down to the fact that I'm afraid of failing at the entire thing!
    So with your post I know that I am not alone in my feelings and that is liberating! Thank you!

  13. Do it! DO it! Have you thought about working in the school system directly? They have plenty o (depending on where you live) where social work is a prerequisite for those types of jobs.

    Congrats on atleast thinking about going back. I have my Master's in Ed. Administration and I am done with school:)

    (By the way...those Cynthia Vincent for Target shoes..I have no idea what they are made of. I'm thinking it's plastic with a faux leather covering...they are not wood or anything. They are light weight though:)

  14. Thanks for visiting me! I, too, think you should go for it. You're so right - the earlier the better. It likely will be hard work, but satisfying in the end! :)

  15. Good for you!! don't be discouraged if gets difficult with the whole balancing act. It is for sure hard to juggle between parenting, school, career, life, but like you said it's possible and you'll feel so accomplished in the end :-)

  16. That's amazing that you are a probation officer, and I can only imagine how difficult it must be wanting to change your clients for the better, only to meet with struggles. It's even more amazing that you're so dedicated to this population that you want to go to school to better serve them at an earlier age. In life, if you want something, you have to go for it! If you don't, you might always wonder what would have happened. It might be tough to balance everything at first, but with a little organizing and planning, you can make it work. And remember - nothing that's worth doing is done easily. :)

  17. Good luck!

    I am sure you can do it.

  18. Hi - I found you from SITS and am a follower now. It sounds like you care about making a difference and wow, do troubled kids and adults need someone like you. It seems most people who commnented knows someone or are related to someone who desperately needed someone like you. Start the journey and see where it goes because you won't know until you do.

  19. Thank you ladies for the words of encouragement and advice. Last night I was going over the LENGTHY Statement of Interest points I have to address and all I could think is, why do I have to write all of this in order to PAY you to take me. My previous grades should tell you I can do the work and I will finish the job. This report I have to complete for work is taking away from my preparing for school time though, the nerve, LOL.

  20. You can do it!!!!
    You seem like an amazing person!!! Glad you visited my blog, it's great to meet you. I'm following you now, so I look forward to getting to know you better.

  21. Hey girly...just stopping by to say I'm behind you 100% Like I told you, "If God gave you the desire to do it, He'll give you the strength to endure and complete it." :-) No worries chica.

  22. Thanks for all the encouragement. I'm getting my thoughts together and getting the letter of interest written.

  23. Goodness! I guess I'm too cold-hearted for your line of work, because after reading the list of offenses some of these kids committed, my thought was that they should be thrown in jail and never released! I admire your dedication and faith that you can make a difference. Good luck! :)