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Rachelle McConnell

805

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Finalist

Bio

Hello everyone, I am enrolled at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor campus and will begin the MSW program in the fall. I have many interests when it comes to the field of social work. Some of my career goals include providing group and individual therapy, working with underrepresented populations, and justice-involved people.

Education

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Master's degree program
2023 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Mental and Social Health Services and Allied Professions
    • Social Work
  • Minors:
    • Clinical, Counseling and Applied Psychology

Wayne State University

Bachelor's degree program
2021 - 2023
  • Majors:
    • Social Work

Schoolcraft College

Associate's degree program
2016 - 2021
  • Majors:
    • Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Master's degree program

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Clinical, Counseling and Applied Psychology
    • Social Work
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Mental Health Care

    • Dream career goals:

      Licensed Clinical social worker

    • Sever

      Giovanni's
      2021 – 20232 years
    • Server/ bartender

      Vic’s casual dining
      2019 – 20212 years

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Capuchin Soup Kitchen — food attendant
      2020 – 2020

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Meaningful Existence Scholarship
    Therapy has been an invaluable resource in my journey of personal growth and recovery. The opportunity to engage with my therapist regularly, sharing my frustrations, challenges, and triumphs, has proven to be a transformative experience. Whether confronted with significant obstacles or navigating the complexities of everyday life, having a safe space to explore my thoughts and emotions has been instrumental in my healing process. Recognizing the profound impact that therapy has had on my life, I am driven to become a therapist myself, eager to extend the same support and guidance to others. Unfortunately, accessing affordable and accessible mental health services remains a significant challenge for many underserved populations, particularly black, brown, and low-income communities. This disparity in access to care underscores the importance of social workers who are well-versed in various treatment modalities. As a social work student, my primary objective is to acquire a diverse range of therapeutic approaches and techniques I can effectively employ in my future role as a therapist. By developing proficiency in evidence-based treatments and culturally responsive approaches, I aim to address the specific needs and challenges individuals within marginalized communities face. Acknowledging the unique experiences and systemic barriers these populations encounter is essential, as these factors significantly influence their mental health and well-being. Through my training and education, I aspire to equip myself with the skills necessary to provide quality mental health support to those who may have historically been overlooked or excluded from accessible care. My ultimate goal as a therapist is to contribute to advancing mental health equity. By offering culturally sensitive and inclusive therapeutic services, I hope to help bridge the gap in access to care and provide a supportive space for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Empowering black, brown, and low-income individuals to address their mental health needs is crucial for their personal well-being and for fostering stronger, more resilient communities. As a future therapist, I recognize the privilege and responsibility that come with this role. It is not just about delivering treatment but about creating a therapeutic alliance built on trust, empathy, and respect. Through active listening, compassion, and a commitment to social justice, I aim to empower individuals to explore their inner strengths, overcome challenges, and thrive. Becoming a therapist holds great significance to me. It is an opportunity to pay forward the invaluable support I have received and contribute to addressing the inequities in mental health care. By acquiring a comprehensive understanding of treatment modalities and actively working towards accessibility and inclusivity, I hope to impact the lives of black, brown, and low-income individuals in my community.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    In February 2014, as I reached the pivotal age of 25, my life stood at a crossroads. The path ahead diverged into two starkly different directions: one leading to continued drug use and self-destruction and the other offering hope through rehabilitation and recovery. It was a decisive moment when I embraced life and its possibilities. Over the next six months, a newfound sense of serenity enveloped me as I secured employment, actively participated in 12-step meetings, and diligently rebuilt the fractured bonds with my family. Life flourished, and I relished the newfound goodness it brought. However, the lingering remnants of my past transgressions emerged to haunt me. Federal agents served me with a warrant, compelling me to face federal court and eventually indicting me on nonviolent drug-related charges. There was a moment when I thought of returning to my former destructive lifestyle, but I found the strength to resist, seeking solace in the fellowship of meetings and fellowship. Those subsequent seven months were characterized by extraordinary stress and profound pain, yet I persevered. I remained cooperative, abstained from drugs and alcohol, maintained my commitment to attending meetings, and supported myself by working as a server in a local restaurant. The moment of sentencing arrived, and to my immense relief and gratitude, the judge sentenced me to two years of probation, sparing me from the confines of federal prison. With unwavering determination, I completed my probation term eight months ahead of schedule, diligently adhering to the stipulations laid out by the court. Throughout the probationary period, I realized that returning to education was imperative. Longing for a future beyond the restaurant and food and beverage industry, I recognized the need to elevate my aspirations. Despite my poor high school performance and narrowly graduating, I embraced the challenge and enrolled in a local community college in the fall of 2016. Proceeding cautiously, I undertook a gradual course load of two classes at a time, mindful not to overwhelm myself. However, I soon encountered an unforeseen obstacle: the realization that my recent felony conviction imposed limitations on my envisioned career path. Aspired to become a nurse, I confronted the disheartening reality that my felony drug offense would preclude me from pursuing this dream. Consequently, I made the difficult choice to take a hiatus from school, prioritizing my personal growth, professional pursuits, and nurturing relationships. Then came the summer of 2020, and I became more determined than ever to complete my associate's degree. By the spring of the following year, I accepted admission into Wayne State University’s School of Social Work program. In the United States, the prominence of mental health and substance use issues had never been more glaring, compelling me to believe I held the power to effect meaningful change. Social work emerged as my true calling—a vocation that resonated with my soul. In May 2023, I proudly graduated with distinction, ranking in the top 5% of my accomplished class. My journey carries me to the University of Michigan, where I will pursue my master's degree in social work this fall. My deepest aspiration is to employ the trials and tribulations of my own life, combined with the knowledge and skills I acquired through my education, to empower others and manifest my dreams while persevering in the face of adversity. My life has not been perfect, and I have made many mistakes. Everything I have been through, I would not change, for they have been lessons of strength, courage, and determination. Throughout my college career and life, I have learned how to have compassion and love for myself and the people around me. That same compassion is necessary for a career in social work. While I may not share all of my life's story with every client I may support in the future, it can help others on their path to recovery and instill hope that they, too, can build a life that was once only a dream.
    Wellness Warriors Scholarship
    Some of the ways that I take care of and prioritize my wellness is by taking long walks with my dog, Snoop. Snoop is only one year old and has a lot of energy that must be burned off daily. He helps me stay motivated. I also have a smartwatch to track my steps and calories burned, which helps me stay accountable for accomplishing my daily goals. Regular exercise gives me more energy to complete homework assignments, housework, and other daily activities while allowing me to sleep better. One of the most valuable ways I stay healthy is by getting at least seven hours of sleep every night, which prepares me for the long days of studying and reading assignments. Staying hydrated throughout the day is also a priority for me, as I can feel the difference in alertness and overall energy that I have throughout the day. I also prepare home-cooked meals with primarily fresh, whole ingredients. While in school and attending classes in person, I often bring my lunch and healthy snacks that I can access throughout the day. Beyond the physical realm of health and wellness, I also participate in individual therapy every other week. Meeting with a professional I trust has improved my life in many ways. They have also given me direction and encouragement throughout my academic journey, which is invaluable for a first-generation student like me. I also practice journaling which helps me to regulate my feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Journaling is a form of meditation, reflecting on my day or week. I also belong to a 12-step group that meets once a week. Being surrounded by people who have experienced similar life situations and led productive lives gives me hope and motivation for continuing my recovery journey and my academic and future career. Having time management skills and knowing the order of importance of all the tasks and activities I have presented to me is how I can be a successful college student. Social well-being is crucial in my life as well. Sometimes, I have had to set firm boundaries with friends and family to protect my well-being. Other times those boundaries may be simply declining an invite to dinner or an event so I can study or make sure I can get enough sleep. However, sometimes, being with friends or family is the break I need. Many factors define a successful college student. Learning how to take care of myself and prioritize my time and tasks is a responsibility in and of itself. I also make sure not to put too much pressure on myself and reassure myself that I do not always have to be perfect. And if my priorities are in proper alignment, I can regroup and get back on track.
    Lost Dreams Awaken Scholarship
    Recovery is an action that has required my full attention and determination. It is freedom from using drugs and alcohol to cope and learning how to apply the 12 steps and traditions of Narcotics Anonymous to my life. I view recovery as being rooted in service to others. It is hope, love, and learning self-compassion. I have the same compassion for others struggling with substance addiction or mental health issues. My recovery journey is one of the reasons I chose the social work career path, as the values and principles of recovery are closely aligned with those of the profession. Recovery has given me empathy for others and the ability to extend a helping hand to the people around me through being a sponsor to women in a 12-step program. Accepting others and their situation has been vital to my growth and realizing that recovery looks different for people besides me. It is not a one-size-fits-all process.