Meet Benjamin Rogers. He graduated with his bachelor of social work in 2022 and completed his master of social work (MSW) in the advanced standing track in Spring 2023. He was an active volunteer at the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic and hopes to use his MSW to advocate for first responders. While he prepares for his licensure in social work, this 2023 graduate shares some advice for current social work students.
Hometown: Key West, Fla
Degree: Social Work
What will you be doing after graduation?
My immediate goal is to work towards my licensure in clinical social work and start to complete the hours and experience needed for me to take the exam. Since that process may be extensive, I plan on balancing it with some selfcare and enjoy the Orlando scenery with my partner who just moved here.
What are your long-term career plans?
I chose social work because my dad is a retired law enforcement officer. I worked as a civilian at the police department in my hometown, Key West, Fla and I saw how much of a toll being a first responder has on people – not just law enforcement, but also firefighters, dispatch, EMT, etc. In the long term, I’d like to make sure that my social work career supports the first responder community.
What accomplishment from your time at UCF are you most proud of?
I learned a lot about how to present myself with more confidence and how to interact with other people. Being able to engage with others in a meaningful way is going to help me going forward as I become a social worker.
What did you love the most about your time at UCF?
As cheesy as it sounds, I love all of the friends I made here at UCF. I moved away from home and was alone for the first time in a long time. But, through the wonderful people in the social work program (students and faculty), I didn’t feel so alone. I now also have some friends that I didn’t have before and I am grateful for having more love in my life than before.
What advice would you give current social work students?
I would advise current students to stay focused. Social work may not be an easy field to find your way in at times because it’s so broad, it can be easy to forget why you got into social work in the first place. Students should remember why their spark to help people was ignited. It can help through some of the more difficult times when you are having to relearn how to interact with people, like your field supervisor, or even when you’re up late trying to finish assignments. It is going to be worth it knowing that you are working towards something.
I would also recommend finding professors you trust and can go to throughout your time as a student. Their lived experiences can help you in the long run. Most importantly, they want you to do better. Having professors that you can continue to talk to outside of the classroom, to help coach you as a student and social worker will help you build confidence and help make the new stuff less intimidating.