Samantha Martin: UM-Flint Social Work Program Takes You Out of Your Comfort Zone

Samantha Martin, UM-Flint Social Work senior

Editor’s Note: We asked a few of our graduating seniors to tell us about their experiences with the UM-Flint Social Work Program. Here’s what Samantha Martin had to say:

What I’ve always loved about the UM-Flint BSW Program is that the faculty and staff are willing to meet you wherever you are at. If you make a mistake, they’ll see you for who you are and not punish you, but help build you back up. I just look at how frequently they check up on us and care for our well-being, like letting us know about job opportunities and updates. All of that teaches us about the value of supervision because we’re also going to experience that in our field.

I’m so thankful that the department chose this Developmental Model, including the three steps of the social justice banquet, the strengths-finder assessment, and the privilege walk. It makes you realize what stands out about you and how to capitalize on that. Each of those steps was a new growth experience to get us to see not only where we stand tall but also where we fall short.

I’m really a different person now than when I started this program. I present myself differently. I learned that we represent the people and the things we associate with according to our values, self-morals, and standards as individuals. This program helps open your eyes to where your standards are and prepares you with the tools to grow. Once you’re willing to embrace those, you can go further with them. The program takes you out of your comfort zone to talk to people you might feel awkward around. It’s taught me when to be responsive to someone or just listen.

I’m interning at Children’s Protective Services, and the field requirement of 440 hours gives you that opportunity to see the field for what it is. Doing the internship, taking classes, and working is demanding, but I’ll look back on it and appreciate it because of the professional relationships I’ve developed and the experience I’ve gained. I plan to get some work experience in the field before going on to pursue a master’s degree.