Jessica Tobin, MSW '13 -- Preparing for a Career Devoted to Helping Others
What brought you to Hunter?
After I got out of the Marines, I wanted to live in New York City, so I took a trip here and looked at several schools in the city. I really liked Hunter. (Jessica received her undergraduate degree at Hunter and is now working on her MSW at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College).
How has your transition to Hunter been?
It was a good transition. As I mentioned, I chose this school because I really wanted to go here. It has a great psychology and Women and Gender Studies Program, and it was historically a women's college. I love the urban campus. I really wanted to go to a city university. So, for me, adjusting was a positive thing. I loved it. I also became active in the veterans' community, which was really positive to me because I felt that it was one of the things that I was really missing from the military, which was the camaraderie. It's a community that can be hard to find in New York City at times.
What's the best part of attending Hunter?
In addition to those already mentioned, I really want to speak about the Silberman School of Social Work. The new school on 119th is a phenomenal new space. It's a small, but very active school that is providing me the opportunity to be a full time intern and a full time student. It's a great program and a great facility.
My internship is at Validus Preparatory Academy, a public high school in the South Bronx. I teach courses in leadership and do individual and group counseling. I am pursuing a masters in social work with a concentration in individuals and families. I will graduate in the spring of 2012, and hope to be a counselor for military and veteran families, and I would love to work with populations (including veterans) who experience PTSD. I'd also like to use my experience to travel abroad and do more humanitarian work.
What's your plan after graduation... career, grad school, travel, etc.?
I'm not sure yet, I have a few different interests. Originally my plan was to work for the Department of Defense and work with veterans with PTSD, which is still a huge interest of mine, but now that I'm a student and working in the school system, I really enjoy working with adolescents. Also, I previously volunteered in the Philippines doing humanitarian work, and I have always wanted to go abroad again. There's a lot of opportunity in Haiti for humanitarian work, so if I were graduating today, I think that's what I would pursue. So, I want to fulfill all of these goals for myself, I just don't know which order yet.
How do you plan to honor Veterans Day?
I will be marching in the parade with my fellow CUNY veterans. I'm friends with a lot of veterans from different CUNY schools and we all go together every year then go out afterwards together.
What did you learn while serving in the military that has helped you succeed at Hunter?
I think it gave me a lot of direction, and it gave me time to figure out what I wanted to do. I showed up at Hunter knowing what I wanted to do, which was not the case when I went to college before the Marines. It taught me a lot about myself and, of course, about discipline. I learned to be the best at what I do.
What advice do you have for other military veterans considering going back to college in general?
My advice would be to do your research. Communicate with the schools that you are thinking about going to because a lot of schools lack good veteran support, which can be tough, particularly when it comes to the GI Bill. It's how you are going to sustain yourself and pay for your living expenses. So, if you don't have a good support system, you can find yourself in a bad situation. The advising staff has been phenomenal, including Alex Rosero now and Aliya Frazier and Arthur Ford when I was an undergraduate. They always made sure I had everything I needed.
About attending Hunter?
I stayed for the graduate program and it has been a great experience. If you are looking for an urban campus at a great value, you get an incredible education. You can't do much better.