Abbie Vita, MSW, Class of 2013
Youth Counselor, Town of Enfield, Conn.
Distinguished MSW Student, 2013
As the recipient of the 2012-2013 Distinguished Social Work Student Award, Abbie Vita was invited to speak to the incoming class and current students in fall 2013. The following are excerpts from her speech:
As I look back over my graduate education at Springfield College, I realize that the near-constant state of curiosity that I felt is what drove me to keep plugging along to find my passion. My biggest piece of advice to you is to be curious and find your passion.
There is no greater time than now, while you are focusing on completing your MSW, to make the absolute most of the amazing learning opportunities, incredible staff expertise, and the advanced generalist educational competencies, along with the ever-important field component that, comprise the Springfield College School of Social Work experience.
Through our education here, we are preparing ourselves to advocate for others, as well as helping others to help themselves. Do not take the easy way out. For example, if you’ve already been a case manager, take on new roles for your internships. Gain new information. Learn new skills. Advocate for what you need. Make yourself more valuable to employers and use the well-rounded education that you are receiving through the advanced generalist curriculum here.
Undoubtedly, we are living in a challenging world of political unrest, a depressed economy, and extreme social injustice. Some days you may feel that all you wanted to do is make a difference in the lives of others, yet you feel defeated. You do not have to go it alone! Change happens on micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Get involved in your communities, local, state, federal and international policy. Learn and understand how to effect change within our governmental processes through community organizing. As Margaret Mead stated, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Let me leave you on a light-hearted note: Last December, as I completed my third semester, I found out that my husband and I were expecting...I knew I had to balance school, homework, internship, my fellowship, and a part-time job, all while being pregnant. It was challenging, but I did it. There is light at the end of your graduate studies tunnel, I can promise you that! As I waddled up on stage seven months pregnant to receive my diploma, I felt a big sense of pride in my accomplishments, but I also remembered that a big part of my success was the support I received from my classmates, the faculty and staff here in the MSW program. Always remember that your fellow students, the professors, and staff are eagerly cheering you on and are here to help and support you. Utilize and enjoy these amazing resources.