My Profession: The Reality Behind Social Work vs. What People Think I Do.

As I sit here, killing a sinus infection, there is not much to do besides knock off some Netflix, rest, drink water, and sleep again. Needless to say, I’ve been getting some writing done and this post has been sitting around for years. I decided to finish it up.

I can spot it right away. I’m at a social gathering and I’m telling someone I’ve never met what I do for a living. I tell them I’m a social worker. “Oh..” is their response. When you’re as good at reading people as I am, you try not to laugh at how blunt their reaction comes off. “Oh..” translates into, “Right, so you take people’s kids from them. You make almost no money. You’re a male in a female dominated profession. Wait…why are you a social worker?? You could do anything??” Continue reading “My Profession: The Reality Behind Social Work vs. What People Think I Do.”

A History of Love

It’s Valentines soon. The last time I wrote a post on this topic was quite a while ago. Still, it seems that I drift back to it every once and a while. I thought I would take a diversion and try a slightly exciting and vulnerable experiment.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a romantic. Most depictions of kids in movies showed them afraid of girls or thought they had “cooties.” For that remedy, I needed two circles and two dots, then I got my cootie shot. That sort of thing. Haha. It’s funny to think back to my life when I was a child, but on a holiday like this, I thought it was particularly appropriate. Continue reading “A History of Love”

It wasn’t an Easy Decision….

For those of you, my readers, who are wondering what I plan on doing NOW that I have graduated…I wrote this for you. It is a detailed description of the process I went through many years ago to be where I am today. Enjoy.

Hello everyone. Friends, family, readers, and other people I know but are somewhere in between.

Some of you know what this is about, and some of you are completely in the dark. 3 years ago, I had been wrestling with a decision that entered my brain as a mere idea. That Idea, was working full time at an agency, in New Zealand.

It began with Corbin telling me that NZ had the highest teen suicide rate. I was sympathetic, but it never resonated with me. Next, we began learning about depression in my classes of Social Work. Then one year about 2 years ago, I took a class and I was required to read a note from an Asian, young adult. It was a suicide note. She wrote it with regret that she wasn’t a man, and if she was a man, then people on the streets would notice her and treat her with respect. Light would shine on her and the birds would sing her name. Her life would have meaning. She told her parents in the note that she was sorry for not living up to their standards. She was sorry that she got an A- and a 3.9 GPA in college. She then jumped out her 3rd floor dorm window to her death. As soon as I was done reading the note, I was speechless. “such a waste. such a complete waste of life…potential…so unnecessary. With speed, emotions were sprinting through my mind and coursing through my veins. It was the first time I almost cried at something I had read.

That day something inside of me changed. That day, I knew that this was the population of people that I was to devote my time to and save. God placed inside of me a certain heart, a caring heart, a keen sense to listen, discern, and comfort. Gifts granted to me by my father and honed by me over the years I have been on this Earth. It is rare for a person to know exactly what they need to do in life, but this was my moment.

The next decision was not so easy. In my heart, I felt called to help the teenagers and adolescents of New Zealand. This meant leaving my family, friends, and everything that felt….comfortable. Not many can say that they have started as fresh as I was about to commit to. For two years I struggled. Praying…but only half heartedly. Looking, but not as diligently. One night, a friend, in whom I had not seen in 5 years, spoke into my life in a prophetic and real way. That night, I knew my life was about to change.

I brought it before my small group and a few others, and they affirmed what I was feeling in my heart. This wasn’t easy for them, because it meant me leaving. Still, they are disciplined and spoke wisely on my behalf.

Bottom line. When I receive my actual Masters in Social Work diploma (which is being mailed to me, and line up and agency overseas to work from…..I will be leaving. Yes. It will most likely be for quite some time. Yes. I have thought about it for a while. Yes it will be the hardest emotionally draining thing I’ve ever done. People, for me, this is still exciting. Stepping out in obedience is something I have to do. If it transpires that I should not be going to New Zealand, then I will seek him in prayer and take the next step. That’s all we can ever do. I am taking the step because I truly believe that this is what I should be doing, and that feeling is impossible to get over.

This was not an easy decision, but it’s one that you deserve to know about. I love you all, and I will never stop writing, as long as I have the means to.

Here, at the End of All Things…

“Hmm.” My first reaction after walking out of my last ever class. Not the reaction I was expecting.

Well, I felt obligated to my readers to really get into my “day-after” experience, once I was done with school forever. I have to say, it still feels a little bit like every other summer break I’ve had: You get done, you feel great, but not too great, cause you always have another year of school. You can’t enjoy the break because you always feel like you have to get something done. You always feel like something is due, or that you missed something. Even now, as I am typing this, I have anxiety that I may have forgotten to do something at school, or at my internship, for which I’ve been done two days already.

I have to say that the easiest way to put it is, It hasn’t sunk in yet. Not sure if it ever will. Seriously, I’m unsure. I mean, I’ve been in school my entire life. Let’s get some perspective. I started school, technically we’ll begin in Kindergarden, when I was 6 years old (I was one of the older students in my grade.) If we start the school year on September 1st every year and end roughly June 1st, (rounding out the years I ended mid-June, and college years when I ended early May) This means that I have spent roughly 18 years in the academic field (if you count Kindergarden academic, haha) Now stay with me here, One academic year (the year we determined, sep1-jun1) Equates roughly to 274 days, 6576 hours, 394, 560 minutes, and 23 million seconds. This means that I have spent 4932 days in school, 118 thousand hours listening to teachers, over 7 million minutes taking assignments, and 426  million, one hundred-twenty-four thousand,  eight-hundred seconds with the pressure, stress and anxiety that school creates. Let that sink in.

Hey Eric, you pointed out all the bad things and none of the good things.” Yes. You’re right poignant reader. Very observant.

I do want to spend some time saying this: School can be hard at times, and even seem stupid to others. A waste of time, and a life killer. Get over yourself. If this is actually what you think, put into perspective that without a high school diploma, you might as well be homeless, or selling drugs, or mooching off of someone for the rest of your life, or the jackpot; D. All of the Above. The American Dream? Take advantage of this “really incredibly hard time” for you, and understand that it is going to put food on the table some day. I don’t want to get into a whole other topic about bullying, peer pressure, drug exposure, or family lives, but I recognize that in some cases, school can be pretty horrible.

That being said, I’m glad that I have a plan, and some goals to accomplish before I move to Grand Rapids, and then to New Zealand later in the year. Still, my original point with telling you exactly how long I’ve been in school was to explain that this is normal for me. Listen, I’ve been doing THIS, for my whole life. I don’t know anything else like I know academics. Sad, but it’s very, very true. I just wrote over 90 pages this year in academic papers, and I’ve totaled my paper writing count IN TOTAL (and this took me an hour and a half to add everything up) throughout my 6 college years to 764 pages! 239 pages from Calvin College and 525 pages from Aurora University. This is a LOT of time put into something that I care very much about.

I wanted to convey to you, the reader, just what this journey for has been like. I hope that you now have some sort of idea what I have been going through these past 6 years of college, and I want to let my good friends know that I will be seeing more of you in the near future. Sorry for being a hermit, ha. I love you all, and I want to thank every single one of you. So come out to my party when I can thank you personally. Peace.

Eric Peterson

A New Chapter begins. The exciting thing? I have NO idea where it will take me…

You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feetthere’s no telling where you might be swept off to… –Bilbo Baggins

If you like my recent, “Important pieces in the world” style of writing, here are some other Proud Works that I have written up for you guys.

KONY 2012: An Unbiased Summary

Teenage Pregnancy at 70 year Low

Wordless, (on the treatment of women in the workplace)

Keeping Your Brain Healthy

The Id, Ego, and Superego Explained

Love Hurts…Literally.

Wind: The story you never knew.

Elevendy 11, 2011

FAT…otherwise known as “Insulation.” 

I used to listen to music on the Radio….