Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Social Work Illuminated

Within the past week or two, my work life has calmed down quite considerably. With the deadline for graduate school application approaching in January, many of the most competitive applicants to our Social Work program have already done the visiting and research necessary for their decision to apply to UNC, and so I finally have a chance to breathe. During a down moment last week, I finally took a few minutes to read an email that has been sitting in my inbox unread for weeks. It was from a young Chinese woman who is studying at the University in Beijing, and who has spent much of her time over the last few years traveling to distant rural towns to teach underprivileged children without any opportunities for quality education. The way she wrote touched me, and I suppose I just want to share what she said because she so clearly sums up how I feel about social work.

"Doing voluntary teaching makes me realize how to connect with those around us, especially the 'invisible' people. The biggest sin is to be blind to other’s problems and pains. Not seeing them means denying their existence. Past years have seen rapid development of China. Beijing, as its capital city, has already enjoyed great material wealth. Meanwhile, the problems accompanying modernization, such as the inequity in the distribution of resources, the degradation of spiritual life, the corruption of values, the loss of innocence and the disappearance of community, begin to act as the forces of social stagnation. People always hold an attitude that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to help the people in need and make the world a better place. Social work is still a fresh field in my country and people have not realized the vital role it plays in the development of a society. I really desire the chance of having further education in this field and I will take advantage of what I learn from the program to contribute to a more civil and compassionate society".

It is humbling to be one of the gatekeepers to a graduate school program that attracts people who have courageously and aggressively taken on poverty and inequality in their spheres of influence, and who are, very truly, a million times better and more qualified than I am to be a part of this field.


Kim said...

Did I mention that Jason didn't decided to apply to UNC until sometime in December, took the GRE's right after Christmas, and overnighted his application in January? How on earth did he get in?

bjahlstrom said...

I hope she gets in.

Katy said...

This lovely woman has much to teach us all. So insightful,inspiring and eloquent. Thanks for sharing, Mets!