Helping People Thrive – Breanna Bivens

“My first time in college as a traditional student, I chose a degree I had no passion for. This resulted in me not being successful and having to take several years off. Once I decided I wanted to go back I decided it needed to be for something I truly cared about. I sat and thought about my role in family and friends’ lives as the confidant and person they come to for solutions. I realized I love helping people and connecting them with resources.

Luckily for me, I have a wonderful mother who is an excellent social worker and in talking to her I decided social work was the degree for me! My mother received her social work degree from Meredith and has always spoken so highly of their program. Once I decided social work was the career for me, it only made sense that Meredith was also the school for me.

After taking my first psychology class at Wake Tech, I decided I also had a passion for the reasons behind why people are how they are. As a result of these revelations, I ended up pursuing degrees in social work and psychology.

The social work faculty at Meredith are some of the best educational connections I have made in my academic journey. Amanda Jones, Kari Alberque, and Anthony Reid have served as invaluable resources for navigating the Meredith social work program. I have also found a great community in the Wings program, which serves non-traditional adult students aged 23 and up. The Wings community on campus helped make my transition back to college life a supportive and reassuring one. I know who I can turn to on this campus when I have issues and concerns and that is a great comfort. 

I am on the executive boards of the Social Work Club, the Association of Meredith Commuters, and the WINGS organization. I will also be serving as president of WINGS for the 2023-24 school year. My experiences serving on these boards and participating in the events that they host have made me feel just as valid and a part of Meredith as a traditional-age student. I have gotten to meet classmates of both the same and different majors with whom I have formed genuine connections. 

With the help of amazing faculty and staff who made me aware of all my financial resources, I am proud to have overcome the obstacle of paying for school out of pocket. I received my Associate Degree from a community college so the shift in tuition coming to a private college was quite a shock. Through the help of advisors and faculty, I have been able to apply for and use various resources so that I can continue to pursue my degrees.

I plan to attend graduate school (hopefully UNC-Chapel Hill) through an advanced-standing MSW program. After graduating a year later, I hope to start my career as an emergency room social worker.

I didn’t even know emergency room social workers were a thing until my first social work class at Meredith. One of the books we were assigned was Days in the Lives of Social Workers. One of the chapters covered an ER social worker’s day and I fell in love. Her day was filled with many people from different walks of life. The tasks and duties were never the same from one moment to the next, which is the type of environment I thrive in. I also recognize that emergency rooms are where people who are in some of the most dire situations fail to receive the totality of care they need. Oftentimes people need help long after their initial visit, and I want to be able to help set them up for success.

If I can help fewer people slip through the cracks, I would feel that I am exemplifying the core values of social work. I look forward to future opportunities to help ease what can be an extremely stressful and overwhelming time for patients.

My time at Meredith has taught me that regardless of what path life takes me on, there are always opportunities available to achieve whatever goals I have for myself. It is all just a matter of how I apply myself and the resources around me.”