By Asiya Fricke
As an undergraduate at Rutgers, Joshua Collins '18 had no idea that ten years later he would be pursuing his Masters in social work and serving as the co-chair of the Graduate Student Association, an organization whose mission is to support current SSW students by encouraging them to practice self-care and make the most of their graduete school experience.
In fact, after his graduation, he took care of his grandmother for several years. After she passed away, he decided to pursue his passion to help others. He found his answer in the MSW Addiction Counselor Training (ACT) Certificate program.
"My interest is in trauma and addiction. My mother was an alcoholic and I really wanted to pursue something in that field and learn more about it," he explains. "I wanted to learn how to help that population. It's a population that is in need of a lot of support."
As someone who has dealt with addiction in the past, Collins' dream job would be to "get a clinical license and work in a trauma informed care setting as well as do advocacy work for people coping with addiction. Basically, anywhere that I can be involved in the healing process. It's amazing to bear witness to the life process and honor growth and transformation. "
Returning to school a decade later has been a blessing to Collins as he feels more self-aware and mindful. "I try to focus on living in the moment an be accountable for taking advantage of the opportunities I have. "
In addition to his coursework and mentoring other students, Collins is a big advocate for meditation as he has been practicing it for several years. His advice to current students is to "read philosophy, take care of yourself, and meditate."
What makes Collins a strong mentor and will make him a valued social worker is not only his passion for helping others but his ability to see everyone as a unique individual with unique needs. "I don't focus on abnormal or normal, I focus on where they're at as individuals. 'Normal' is a relative, term. My goal is to help clients make sense of their world based on their personal goals. I look at what they want to achieve and try to help them reach those goals."