When with academic, theoretical, ethical, or professional challenges.

When I began my Master’s in Social Work (MSW) Program this past Fall, I never fathomed that I would be seeking admission to the J.D./MSW Dual Degree Program just five months later. However, with each passing theory I studied and instance of oppression I examined, my convictions began to shift from desiring to address injustice as a social worker to incorporating social work knowledge into my practice as a lawyer. Although my decision to apply to the University of Georgia School of Law is relatively recent, I can trace its roots back to my first semester of the MSW program; within my first month of study, it was clear that my passions and skill set made me inclined to address oppression from a systematic level rather than through a clinical approach. To illustrate, with every story I hear of injustice I read on the news or study in class, my first thoughts go to the current laws, policies, or systems that either contribute to or could have prevented that situation from occurring. Because my mind is inclined to think about the larger picture and environmental causes first, it is second nature for me to identify the complex relationship between laws, policies, social norms, and cultural flaws in reinforcing injustices. Also, because my strengths largely lie in my ability to conceptualize and strategize to solve problems, I find myself at ease when faced with academic, theoretical, ethical, or professional challenges. Although I am pleased with the knowledge base I have built during my first semester in the MSW Program, I am also well-aware that I have much more to learn. Further, I understand that the theories I will engage in during my law studies have the potential to both confirm and contradict some information that the social work profession understands as fact. I am not only confident that I will be able to hold both realms of knowledge in tension, but I am looking forward to contributing to the preexisting body of knowledge that reinforces the fact that social work values can and will enhance the practice of a lawyer. If accepted into the University of Georgia School of Law, I plan to strike this delicate balance between two fields of study by securing mentors in both schools and developing relationships with professionals who are currently incorporating both bodies of knowledge into their practices. Overall, I am confident in my ability to engage with new information and my willingness to challenge current ideas I have about what it means to be successful, effective, and influential as a lawyer. I am looking forward to learning from the world-class faculty at the UGA School of Law and continuing my studies within the UGA School of Social Work.

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