Brain Heart Balance
by Carly Holdaway
Academically, I have always been an overachiever. I scored highly on my ACT and graduated with a 4.0 from high school. I currently have a 4.0 after my first semester in college, as well. I don’t say that to brag - just to give context. I’ve known that I wanted to be a social worker ever since I started to seriously consider careers in high school. Helping people greatly appealed to me, and being a social worker was something that I’d imagined having great fulfillment in doing. Of course, many people had warnings of how social work would take an emotional toll on me, but one day a friend of mine said something that took me by surprise.
My friend and I were talking about academics, and after mentioning how I scored one point higher on my ACT than my pre-med friend had, he said, “Wow, you’re too smart to be a social worker. You should be a lawyer.”
I was shocked by this statement. I had never thought this way when imagining becoming a social worker - as if being intelligent made me too good for social work. He acted like social work was some kind of second-rate career choice. I didn’t decide to be a social worker for the money, I picked it because it was one of the few things that I felt I would genuinely enjoy.
Now I shouldn’t be surprised by my friend’s response. When I asked him why he wanted to be a doctor, his main reason was money. I had expected him to say something along the lines of to help people or because of interest in medicine. To me, how much money one makes in a career field wasn’t important when deciding on a career. And it’s silly to act like we don’t need intelligent people in every field.
Social workers play a vital part in society, which I say is at least equal to doctors and lawyers. Social workers help those who need it the most. So, no, there is no such thing as being too smart for social work. Sure, you can be too impatient, too cold to be a social worker, but definitely not too intelligent. Like teaching, it is a field of passion, not for those simply looking for a large paycheck.
I am proud to be on the path that I am on. My goal is to make the world a little bit better. And the best way to do that is to become a social worker.
Carly Holdaway is a student at the University of North Dakota majoring in social work.