Nicole George, like many other Bachelor of Social Work students at Limestone, wears many hats: Aspiring social worker, hard-working student, full time employee, and mother to her beautiful 4-year-old son Aiden.
Sound like a lot to juggle? It is, but for George, the road towards her future career has not been wearisome, rather it has strengthened her as a person.
“Social work all around has helped me grow as a person … There is a lot of self-reflection and searching and working on yourself,” explained George, “You have to do that to go into the field but it is also helpful because it blooms out into your own personal life.”
George’s dream of becoming a social worker has been in the works for a long time.
After experiencing the passing of her mother at a very young age, George struggled with some behavioral issues. This put her in touch with social workers that, in her words, “were the most influential people of my life … they really helped me get my life back on track.”
Now, so many years later, George has been given the opportunity to do the same for others. Through Limestone’s required practicum, George has been working with a nonprofit in South Carolina called New Foundations Home for Children, shadowing professionals in the field and assisting in counseling sessions with emotionally troubled adolescents, a subject near to her heart.
In addition to adolescents, George is also working with the Family Counseling Center, another program under New Foundations, to lead a men’s counseling group for domestic violence.
“It’s interesting because when I first started I felt very unprepared and not very confident because I am young and very fresh in the field and I thought ‘they are not going to respect me’,” explained George.
As the only woman in the group, Nicole realized that she was not only respected, but her point of view was appreciated.
“They actually look to me as the woman perspective,” she explained. “I am going to be sad when it’s over. I might do some volunteer work there when my internship is over.”
George usually takes one class on campus and one class online each term, saying that the way Limestone’s curriculum is set up she gets the flexibility she needs to work around her job or family responsibilities.
“I liked the online classes. They do a lot to keep it integrated so you’re not out there all by yourself,” explained George, “You can email the other students, the professors are always really quick to respond to you.”
But the structure of Limestone’s programs has done more than simply making it possible for George to maintain balance within her own family; it has provided her with a second family – a support system – through the fellow social worker students she’s met.
“The student social work organization really is like a family because we all work on the same projects. I know if ever there is something I need, I can count on this network.”
And George expects these relationships to last.
“When we all go into the field and we all have each other’s contacts, those are people I will turn to if I need resources or support.”
Nicole hopes to combine her passion for working with children and adolescents with her career in social work, potentially going on to complete her Masters in Social Work.