So the Artist graduates this spring, with a Master’s of Fine Art degree. How incredibly amazing is that?! But the million dollar question I get asked over and over again, is “what are you guys going to do after he graduates?” Usually we say that we aren’t sure, that we are looking into options, etc. But the truth is, we know exactly what we want. Making it work however, is a whole new ballgame.
We are really good at figuring out any obstacle presented to us. We have never let ANYTHING get in the way of what we want. After all, we are in St. Louis, and the Artist is a rockstar in this program right now, which is all the proof in the world that we CAN make anything happen, no matter how few resources we have. So to answer this big question; I want to get a Master’s of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis which is ranked the top school of social work in the entire United States, the Artist wants to teach at the same school part time and work on his practice, and we have our eyes on some pretty awesome lofts for rent downtown.
The first hurdle? Me getting accepted into the MSW program or the Artist getting a job, or both would be even better 😉 Then we can file for the appropriate documentation, and look at those lofts we like, and everything will be all hunky-dory. First hurdle- PASSED! I got accepted to Wash U with a scholarship of $10,000. I am thrilled to be accepted, but also kind of sad when I realize the reality. $10,000 doesn’t even begin to make a dent in the total cost of tuition. I am not eligible for loans here, as I am Canadian, nor do we have loads of money in the bank to just write a cheque. As it stands right now, I have no way to pay this, which means I will have to decline the offer. Well, “decline” does not exist in my vocabulary, so I have been looking at ways to pay for this, researching possible scholarships, etc. but the problem is, scholarship winners are announced after the decision deadline. Well, now what?
To my utmost despair, there is nothing left. I have reached out to friends and colleagues to see if they know of any other resources to help me get funding, but so far, no avail. It really, really, breaks my heart to say this, but I think this will be the first time that we just cannot figure it out, despite our endless efforts. Social work agencies are so underfunded, and the funding available for graduate level social work education and training is no where near the level of its counterparts in the sciences. I am not saying that science or medicine is any less important, because all fields of study are important! But it seems that social work, the field looking out for the greater good of society, always falls short. I have done volunteer work in the field of domestic violence, doing things like crisis intervention, helping women make a safety plan so she doesn’t get stabbed or beaten or strangled- yet again, by her abusive partner. I connect women with resources so she can get legal assistance and medical care possibly for free, due to the effects of an abusive relationship. I listen, I support, and I empower women through the healing process. And yes, as a volunteer. I hope there comes a day, where social work education, careers, and agencies, get the funding they need and deserve, to make great changes happen in society.
When I tell people that I got accepted, the only person who was ecstatically excited for me was the Artist. I was in tears because I knew the reality of it, but he saw it as a positive thing. I got accepted against loads of other applicants to the top school of social work in the country! Yet another reason, why I love him so much ❤ As soon as I tell people I got in, and got a $10,000 scholarship, the conversation usually follows the general formula of: how much is tuition-oh wow that’s a lot-well at least you tried-so when are you coming home? This kind of threw me for a loop, I was quite confused. What do you mean, “when am I coming home?” As if to say that applying was kind of a waste if it was too expensive in the first place. I KNOW this is what I want, so why would I just call its quits? Why should I give up on something that I want?
As I said, I know there is a good chance I am not going to be able to make this work, but I absolutely REFUSE to go down without a fight. Look out world- Emily is on a mission. A mission to become trained and educated and have a successful career striving for social change in society, for the sake of every 1 in 4 women who will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime*.
And with support of my dearest, loving, amazing Artist: anything is possible. One way, or another.
*Source of statistic: http://www.ncadv.org/files/DomesticViolenceFactSheet(National).pdf