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The Work We Do

"We listen to people’s pain.  We try to relate to it, no matter how insane."  Ariel Mozeson, MSW WSSW '15

WSSW Commencement Ariel MozensonOn May 11th, 2015 Wurzweiler School of Social Work congratulated fifty MSW and PhD graduates as they completed their Wurzweiler experience and began their careers as professional social workers. At the Commencement Exercises, four student speakers summed up their perspectives on their student experiences and on social work in inspirational and impressive addresses, each of which evidences the nature of Wurzweiler’s exceptional alumni. One of those speakers, receiving his MSW degeree, was Ariel Mozeson. Below is the content of the speech he delivered. Congratulations to all of the Spring, 2015 graduates!

When I was asked to speak to you all, I was pretty hesitant. You all know me. I like to be contrary, to play devil’s advocate, and to keep things interesting. Am I really the person who should be addressing us newly minted graduates, full of hope and terror? I went to YouTube and watched lots of clips with titles like, best graduation speech ever and I began to see a formula and here it is. Open with many thank you’s followed by pithy quotes/stories, followed by an analogy about how we were all unformed diamonds but now we’re beautiful and shiny, followed by the message that all we have to do to achieve success is to reach out and take it. More thank you’s graceful exit. But that’s just not me.  So instead. I decided to share some thoughts about how I understand the work we do.  If this moves you to tears, that’s ok, go with it, this is a safe space. (Hashtag social work skillz.) Here goes We listen to people’s pain.  We try to relate to it, no matter how insane. We worry about them. We try to help them. We get so frustrated when they don’t or can’t help themselves. We laugh with them in the face of utter despair. Sometimes we cry with them when things seem so unfair. What is this relationship? Where you meet someone and make a professional pact. To be with them in the darkness and the light, with such intensity That our profession has coined the term self-care which basically means we have to remember to take care of ourselves.   And that’s a lot of us. Maybe we give too much sometimes, and maybe we care too much sometimes. But no one can doubt that we care, and that we give. Unlike the formula, I feel that I came to Wurzweiler incomplete and I leave the same way. Not because they failed me, on the contrary I grew a lot here. But because this job is different from other professions Its deeply linked to a process of growth that is wholly our own, and its going take a heck of a lot longer than two years and a diploma to iron out the kinks. In a way that’s the important thing I learned here. We don’t get paid enough for what do, we are not acknowledged enough for what we give. But we give, and some part of us feels deeply fulfilled by it. Other parts of us want to throw things. So in conclusion were all crazy, but everyone’s crazy, just different types of crazy. And at Wurzweiler, we are all the best type of crazy. Thank you Wurzweiler for helping me along this journey and teaching me a million theories on how to help people. Thank you to my classmates and teachers for being cool. The administration for doing all the behind the scenes stuff that keeps this engine running, (and you all seem like really nice people.) You all have been good to me and while I will probably forget about that in time I give you all permission to remind me. Farewell.