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What next?

First off let me start by saying HOLY SHITBALLS IS IT COLD!!! This is freaking Florida, and it is not supposed to get this cold here.

Now that that is out of the way I guess I can go on with the rest of this post. Today I took a "mental health day" from my internship. I called my mentor and fed him some line about going to the VA today for a check up that thankfully he fell for hook line and sinker. It was good to have the day off, but not having the daily grind of my internship left me with time to think which is almost never a good thing for me.

It is my senior year of college, my G.I. Bill will be running out soon, and I began to freak myself out by thinking "Well Justin, what do you do next?" It would be nice if I could just take my bachelors degree in social work and go right into the job market, but after months of searching it seems that that is not an option. It turns out that if I want a job that even resembles a career in social work I will need not only my masters degree, but a license that takes two years of clinical practice to get.

For a while I entertained the idea of just dropping my whole life and moving back to Japan to become an English teacher, but I am not sure about that working out. I have amazing memories of Japan, and love everything about the country from it's people, to it's food, and it's rich history and culture, but I have a life here in the states to think about and it's not that easy to just drop everything and leave. I have a fiance who I love with all my heart, and a whole menagerie of pets including two ferrits, a dog, and a cat who I would not be able to live without and severely doubt I would be allowed to bring with me to Japan so my search went elsewhere.

I thought about grad school after that for a long while, which seems to be the next logical choice for me but carries it's own set of pro's and con's with it. First of all would be can I even get in? FSU school of social work is one of the most competitive schools in the entire country, and I doubt whether I could get in or not. My grades were not so good while I was in my freshman and sophomore years at college doing my general ed stuff, so even with my straight A's and B's in my upper division classes I should only have around a 3.3 GPA which is barely enough to meet the minimum requirements for the program. Then of course there is the little fact of the GRE looming over my head. I have always been a good standardized test taker, but I never even took the SAT when I was in high school and I have not done any math or English classes in over two years which is pretty much all the GRE is according to the people I have talked to and I need a minimum score of 1000 in order to get into the program. Then finally there is the issue of payment. Up until now I have had the G.I. Bill to pay for my classes, but that runs out for me this year and I really do not want to finish school with a mountain of debt. Grad school is still on the table right now, but I have lots to think about.

Finally my advisor informed me about a program where the Army would send me to grad school and help me get my license if I give them a good chunk of my life in exchange. My initial reaction to this was "no way, I already went down that road with the Navy", but after thinking on it for a while this seems like the best choice for me. I realize now in retrospect that my time in the military was some of the best time in my entire life. Sure parts of it sucked, but for the most part it was an amazing experience that shaped the man that I am today. I realize that I thrive in the structure and discipline of the military lifestyle. I also have a family to think about now, and having a guaranteed job with full benefits and paid holidays is a pretty sweet setup. Plus I will be doing exactly what I set out to do in the social work field and be helping veterans. It will be weird being in the Army as apposed to the Navy (which team will I rout for during the army/navy football game?), and be even weirder being an officer( I don't think I will ever get used to being saluted...Lt. Justin Hope lol), but I think that this is the right choice for me.

I talked to Reba about it and she is scared, which I guess is understandable. She worries about moving away from her family when I get stationed somewhere, and worries about me getting deployed to a war zone, and no matter how much I talk to her about it she is always going to have these fears. My cousin Davey who is an Army vet himself is completely against the idea. He has his own reasons for thinking this way based off of his experience with the Army, ruined marriage, PTSD from combat experience, and 60 percent disability from the wear and tear of Army life on the body, and although I value his and her opinion ultimately this is going to be my decision and mine alone.

After writing all of this out I guess I have come to the decision already and I am going to join the Army and become a social worker. I am actually very excited about this decision now.It will be the start of a great new adventure for me. Maybe I will even get lucky enough to get stationed in Japan again. Now I guess I have to actually start my application packet for the program.

This journal has been more useful than I ever thought it would be. Writing stuff down really has a way of putting things into perspective for you. Well, I have spent to much time on this already and I should get back to work now. I will keep you all posted on how things go.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 22nd, 2011 01:53 am (UTC)
as I was reading this I had a number of comments to make, but realizing you had already pretty much made up your mind made me forget all of them. I really hope things go well for you!

Also, did you get your BS? I had this feeling like you were still in community college for some reason.
Oct. 22nd, 2011 02:39 am (UTC)
I am in my senior year right now at Thomas University actually Katie and I graduate at the end of the spring semester. I finished community college over two years ago lol, shows how much we communicate any more, and I am truly sorry about that. If you ever remember what those comments were please feel free to share them with me because I am always open to suggestions, but thank you very much for your encouragement. It means a lot to me.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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