I Lost My Integrity In Trying To Please Everyone Else

I Lost My Integrity In Trying to Please Everyone Else

I was able to rediscover my sense of integrity by listening to what I wanted and needed of my future.

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I have taken pride in being a person of integrity by taking responsibilities for my actions and decisions while making an active effort to do what is right, even when it's easier not to. Throughout my senior year, especially in my last semester, I've had the question of what my post-graduation plans would actually be, in the back of my mind, with no actual resolution until a couple of weeks ago.

During the fall semester, I needed to conduct an informational interview for my professional communication class and needed to job shadow for my health communication course. I shot two birds with one stone and conducted the informational interview with the Program Manager of Psychotherapy and Intake at FrontLine Service in Cleveland, and shadowed her for the second half of her day. I have a family friend who works there, who was able to put me in touch with the Program Manager and have been volunteering with them every year during the Christmas season since they started their event, Twinkle Shop, three years ago.

Overall, the professional experience was successful. I learned so much about the organization and realized that I would love to work there someday. There are over thirty different programs offered by FrontLine to assist with mental health, poverty, and homelessness in the community. The Program Manager told me how the organization is more egalitarian in nature, in that all employees are seen as equal, no matter what their position; she shared with me how the majority of employees have their masters in social work.

I was intrigued by this, since I've wanted to work in mental health since I started the art therapy program at Cuyahoga Community College, four years ago this upcoming fall. Unfortunately, art therapy is not a practical choice for me, since I would need a year of studio art courses before gaining admissions to the only graduate school that offers an art therapy masters program in Ohio, which is a private college and extremely expensive. It did not make sense for me to pursue this, so instead, I made a compromise with myself and instead, would utilize my creative arts therapist certification from Tri-C in my future mental health practices.

Then, after consulting my dad, who is a licensed social worker, about whether to pursue mental health counseling or social work, I was encouraged to pursue social work as the more versatile option with more job opportunities, even if I wasn't actually interested in any of them.

In an attempt to move forward somehow, I requested information from the University of Akron and Case Western Reserve University about social work graduate programs. Over winter break, Case Western sent an email about early admissions and their leadership fellowship opportunity that would cover full tuition for their nationally ranked, top ten graduate program in social work. I applied on a whim and got the application in one minute late, which was later confirmed with the director of admissions as not being a problem. There were seven spots available, and I did not get one of them, though I was still granted admissions to their program with a small, merit-based scholarship.

I spent the rest of spring semester going back and forth in my mind, trying to make a decision. In theory, I would have had to mortgage my life to pay off the loans necessary for this program, which wouldn't make much sense, since social workers do not make a whole lot of money, anyhow, and I was settling for this profession because it was more practical in the eyes of those I consulted. Still, I was so excited to get into this school, that I didn't care, I just wanted to go.

My best friends were encouraging me, while my parents were trying to bring me back down to earth. I felt so insecure with all other areas of my life, especially dating and relationships, that I knew I was trying to fill a void of sorts, by pursuing a future career I was settling for at a school too expensive.

Instead of graduate school, I am working on finding a job at FrontLine Service and am considering going back to school for mental health counseling with a specialization in trauma recovery, down the road. I can be so stubborn, but once I go through my own process, I am able to see a situation for what it really is.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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If Shonda Can Do A Year Of Yes, Then So Can I

Yes.

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A few years ago, Shonda Rimes decided to do a year of saying yes, after her sister told her she says "No" to everything. It ended up changing her life.

So, I've decided to embark on my own year of yes.

Sure, it may be easy to say yes to everything when you're a millionaire with a bunch of record-setting televisions shows, but the rest of us can do it too.

Say yes to treating yourself.

Say yes to taking care of yourself.

Say yes to saying no, don't stretch yourself too thin.

Say yes to new opportunities

The year of yes is about taking better care of yourself.

My year of yes starts right now.

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