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Getting an MSW with My Daughter

Completing a graduate level education program is no easy feat. It is often time consuming, demanding and rigorous work. These things were true for me, especially after deciding to return to school later in life and well into my career. However this transition was made easier by having the help of my eldest daughter, Shauniqua Key.

In the Spring of 2016, Shauniqua was just completing her undergraduate degree from Howard University. Around this time I began to encourage her to apply to various graduate schools, however she remained unsure of her next step. After much contemplation and consideration, Shauniqua decided that her passion to serve others in a meaningful and compassionate way would be best attained through a career in social work. She began her application process shortly thereafter. Upon my relentless request for her to further her education, she challenged me to do the same by stating, “I’ll go to grad school only if you go too…” I impulsively obliged without necessarily thinking it through thoroughly. As the weeks passed and the time grew near, I began doing some life reflection and evaluation and thought “why not?”. During this time, my youngest daughter, Alexis, was entering her senior year of high school, and my son, Travis was also in the process of returning to school to complete his degree. I quickly realized I would soon be an “empty nester”. It was at this point that I decided that this was an opportune time to accept the challenge.

I wanted to set a positive example for my children. Having already obtained a bachelor’s degree in social work from Dominican College in 2005, I knew that I would eventually return to school under the same field of study. I completed my BSW at the age of 38 with three young children, so I had an idea of some of the challenges I might face, but I was determined. I began researching programs and weighing my options before deciding on Fordham University. This program allowed me the opportunity to complete my MSW in two years as I was accepted into the part time advanced standing program. I was able to attend all of my classes on Saturday, and arrange a schedule balancing fieldwork and my full-time employment.

My daughter and I are now on track to graduate in the Spring of 2018 and we could not be happier! As a parent, it is the ultimate goal to see your children prosper and do well in life. Having this opportunity to excel side by side with my children has been an amazing journey, for which I am thankful and blessed.


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