Assmus: The greater need for campus wide respect

Thoughtful Consideration

Throughout my years at this university, I have always felt passionate about the topics I have studied. During my time as an undergraduate student at Case Western Reserve University, I always felt like people did not respect my major and the work that I did, though.

I double majored in English and History, two topics that I still love and am interested in. In fact in the past I have written about this in my opinion column and how there needs to be more respect for the humanities at CWRU. Again I find the need to write about how there needs to be respect for other studies and professions besides those in the hard sciences.

As I entered graduate school, I thought that perhaps I would have more respect since I was entering a professional environment, but again I find myself put down by other students because I am in social work and not a hard science profession, such as medical or nursing school. It is bothersome because I work just as hard at school and my studies as other students do, and I am tired of hearing from other students that my work is easy, especially when they do not seem to understand what exactly it is that I do and what my classes are like.

Recently there was an interprofessional workshop that all first year social work, dental, nursing and medical students were required to attend. I was happy to do this since I am interested in social work in a medical setting and look forward to collaboration with other professionals in my future career as well as throughout school. Although my program might not be as long as medical or nursing school, it is still difficult at times and I would like to have the respect for that in the same way that I respect people that decide to go to medical school.

I have also run into these kinds of comments and views in other social interactions with medical and nursing students and heard of many through my classmates at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. I feel like I have a lot of respect for people that decide to go into these professions, but do not see that returned to my own studies and work. It is incredibly frustrating that my efforts are seen as easy and not as difficult in relation to other professions. This kind of disrespect between people in different programs is not a good way to start respect for each other in a professional work setting.

Humanities and social sciences are different than other studies, there is no denying that. However that does not mean that there is not some difficulty in what we do or a high level of mastery in learning it. I am tired of being told that I am not in a hard profession or that my studies are not as difficult as other people on this campus. In order to create a professional climate of collaboration, the ideas of respect and mutual understanding of each other needs to start early during graduate school, or even undergraduate studies.

I have met some nice medical students that are very respectful of social work and see the benefit in collaboration between the different professions, however there are too many people that still do not respect what I do, which prevents me from working with them and creating a well-functioning team.

No matter what profession or program of study you are in, you should not feel like what you are doing is subpar to anyone else on this campus because every single department and school has intelligent and great people making a difference in their respective areas. As a campus, we should be respectful of each other’s studies in order to foster respect for different professions once we enter the working world in order to create a better working environment for everyone.

Abby Assmus is a graduate student at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.