She’s ridden in ambulances with students threatening to harm themselves and stood on picket lines with a bull horn, calling for more school social workers. She is Nikki Bond ’17, one of three school social workers for over 1,000 students at Mt. Pleasant High School. Bond enrolled in RIC’s M.S.W. program as a wife and mother of five young boys. It was there, she said, that the groundwork for her lifework began.
“From the beginning and throughout my M.S.W. program, we were taught about human behavior, the beauty of diversity and the reality of oppression,” Bond says. “We were taught ways to better understand human behavior and we were challenged to find ways to fight oppression against the most vulnerable groups.”
As for her professors, they also taught by example.
“My professors approached students from a strengths-based perspective, which made them empathetic to our needs,” Bond says. “There was a flexibility in the scheduling of classes and they put a lot of emphasis on self-care. There were numerous times when I reached out to my professors, who, without fail, were always there for me. I also love the diversity of RIC’s M.S.W. professors – they’re representative of most of the students.
“When it came to my writing, I appreciate their attention to detail. I tend to be an excellent conversational writer, but in the field, a social worker needs to be able to write professionally and persuasively. While I was in graduate school, I didn’t appreciate so much having to do a third or fourth revision of a 20-page paper, but it strengthened my writing skills and has made me more effective at my job today.
“From a personal standpoint, the graduate program helped me become a better person, advocate and parent. I know that sounds pretty lofty, but it’s true. As a mom of five boys, I often make use of what I learned in graduate school, such as approaching my children from a strengths-based perspective and engaging in active listening. I’m able to let them know that I’ve heard what they’re saying, not only through my body language but by rephrasing what they’ve said for clarification and feedback. It’s a great tool for anyone to have. Certainly, my family is the stronger for it.
“Ultimately, my time at RIC helped build my confidence in becoming a social worker. Sure, there are days when I feel the imposter syndrome. But, for the most part, I wake up each day knowing that I have the tools to do my job well. I certainly attribute that to my time at RIC. The M.S.W. program is a rigorous program that has truly helped prepare me to be an expert in my field.”
Advancing your career and pursuing personal fulfillment are two major reasons for enrolling in graduate school. Whatever your motivation, look into RIC’s nationally recognized graduate and certificate programs and consider the impact a graduate degree can have on your career.
Also see: “Activist Nikki Bond is on the Move”
First appeared on www.ric.edu