The theme for today was self-compassion. I listened to the following podcast (link below) last night and it truly shaped my day today. We are our own worst critics–self-compassion is the practice of treating yourself with the same compassion that you would treat others. I have crippling public speaking and social anxiety (a terrible weakness to have going into this program since it is very discussion-based and inherently social). Instead of being fearful, I decided to imagine what I would tell someone else  in my position. I would say, “You know this information, your only job is to share this knowledge” and something like “you’ll do great, and you’ll look good doing it”. These thoughts provided security for me before and after my presentation. 

The Greater Good Podcast: Power of Self-Compassion

On another note–I guess it would be helpful to list my classes on Tuesdays, so that you can see what the structure of this blog will mostly look like:

1) Community Organizing

Nicole Lee of Urban Peace Movement came in to talk about the organization. UPM is a youth advocacy group. “(UPM) builds youth leadership in Oakland to transform the culture and social conditions that lead to community violence & mass incarceration in communities of color. UPM’s model of “Healing-Centered Youth Organizing” supports young people to feel self-confident & hopeful while empowering them to work for healing, social justice, and a brighter future for all!!”   Urban Peace Movement of Oakland

The discussion about identifying as white and trying to organize in a community of color came about, and how we approach this dynamic. The following article by Kenneth Hardy spoke to this topic: Tasks of the Privileged. What are your thoughts on this? 

Nicole Lee also spoke to how her organizing in 2004 with Books Not Bars has helped to minimize the harmful effects of The Department of Juvenile Justice on our youth. It is also amazing that today, April 4, 2017, “CA: Bill to Ban Prosecution of Kids Under 12 Gets Hearing Today. A bill to keep children under 12 out of the juvenile court system gets a hearing before the state Senate Public Safety Committee today. SB 439 would instead require that children 11 or younger be referred to child protective services and thus be spared time in juvenile hall and have no criminal record”-Child Welfare Information Gateway

CA Bill to Ban the Prosecution of Kids Under 12 Hearing
2) Direct Practice with Children and Families

We learned about assessment tools/approaches for Child Protective Services (CPS): Structured Desicion Making Tool (SDM), Signs of Safety, and Solution-Based Focused Approach. Most counties use the SDM, because it is evidence based and is backed up by plentiful research. But, Signs of Safety is highly favored by the new, more liberal, generation of social workers because it allows parents more of a voice in their safety planning and helps to identify strengths and signs of safety, not just deficiencies. It is however not empirically based. Here is a quick powerpoint about Signs of Safety that was made 2min before our presentation. 

Signs of Safety 

 3) Psychopathology

This week we covered (1) eating and elimination disorders and (2) sexual and identity disorders. I’ll just post the questions/concerns that I had about these diagnosis in my reflection: 

  • How does the LGBTQ community view the Gender Disorders Diagnoses section of the DSM? – It seems to me like the purpose of the section is because of the distress caused by this identity. But maybe it is similar to being distressed due to racism and then pathologizing the recipients (minority stress).
  • Anorexia is a mental disorder, but obesity isn’t. What does it mean when they say obesity isn’t an eating disorder because it lacks psychological factors?
  • Why aren’t other beauty ideals that can be harmful besides weight through cultural ideals aren’t added into the DSM if anorexia is (i.e. Tanning, plastic surgery, etc.)
  • Do we treat medically precarious clients like a 51/50 as a social worker?
  • Why do some diagnoses (binge eating) require the patient to consider their condition as pathological (mania) while others do not?
  • How are some ways to bring the conversation up to a friend appropriately and sensitively whom we believe to be struggling from an eating disorder?
  • Definition of pedophilia is sexual acts towards prepubescent—so if it is directed towards pubescent, say 12-18, are they not considered as having pedophilia, but still criminal?

Lastlyyy–I have a big decision to make because, I JUST GOT PICKED TO INTERN FOR BOTH SAN MATEO and SACRAMENTO COUNTIES FOR NEXT YEAR’S INTERNSHIP!! This is great news, and also conflicting. I could either stay in the Bay Area (my favorite area), work with my ideal county, be close and take advantage of resources at school, but work to support my living. Or I can move to Sacramento, have free housing, but commute for class for 2 hours back and forth once-twice a week, but not have to work, and carry my own caseload (which is amazing and intimidating). It would be a total change in lifestyle if I choose either one. Any thoughts? 🙂 

🌟 (OK LAST NOTE) I was also listening to this podcast: Myths to happiness, and very interesting research shows that oxytocin/ hypothalamus system, which regulates compassion, is destroyed in youth who grow up in orphanages. This is definitely worth looking into and researching further in the future! 

Fuck ok I really can’t complete today’s post without talking about the news in Syria. I am distraught. I feel worthless. I don’t know what to do. How can this happen? Suspected gas attack in Syria reportedly kills dozens – CNN

Suspected gas attack in Syria reportedly kills dozens
Damn, that ended on a sad note. Alright well, I guess that is why I am in this field and why I need to stay. I need to keep at it so that I can extend my hand to farther boundaries and eventually reach global issues.


(Disclaimer: This post is not directly related to social welfare–It is more about needed self-care during spring break and resources, provided below, for other struggling students)

It’s Friday of Spring Break and I thought that what I really needed and have been yearning for was to run away. I wanted to take a road trip and pretend to live like a renegade for a week. Live my fantasy of abandoning everything behind. Instead, I have stayed home due to unpredictable circumstances. But you know what, this is what I REALLY needed. I really needed to get back into my center. 

I have been so stressed out because it felt like all of my daily activities were to either satisfy my professors, impress workers at my internship, or gain the acceptance and respect of my classmates. Coming home from my last day of internship– I wanted to ground myself again. I picked up the exercise of naming 3 things that I smell, 3 things that hear, and 3 things that I feel. Out of all the sensory items, the only pleasurable sensory experience was the smell of my hair (only because I washed up for the conference I went to that day)

My friend and I were going back and forth about doing a roadtrip to San Diego, Vegas, even Mexico. Unfortunately, the thing about being a grad student is that you are broke af. They call it “voluntary poverty”. And that’s me talking even with a full-ride scholarship. (I will talk more about how I got that later). I decided to think of ways to make $$$. I have been having a fear of working while in school because I was scared that it would jeopardize my grades. Then, I received an email from an HR for a tutoring position that paid about $40-50/hr, and I said okurrr!!!! Then, a lightbulb went on inside me and I remembered being recruited during Caltopia (Cal’s Orientation Day) by Elite Tutors which allow you to schedule your own hours, rate, and any subject to tutor  through an app (even dance). So I went ahead and completed the application process for that. Additionally, I applied for Tutor Corps, the tutoring agency that my current internship collaborates with, and who also have a good rate for their tutors. This was perfect! Minimum number of hours of work, a pay that can fund my fun $$, and give me satisfaction in sharing my skills to youth in need. I instantly felt better. I was finally doing something to fund activities that I would do FOR MYSELF.

This Spring Break I applied to tutoring positions, signed up for Classpass (which is an amazing discovery–membership allows you to attend workout classes in various gyms around your local area), contacted toastmasters at Berkeley (for building my public speaking skills), explored communal gardens in Berkeley to be a part of, bought a pass to Being Yoga in Burlingame, planned out my finances for the rest of the year (will be switching credit cards to accrue air miles for travel), started this blog, explored some podcasts, and did some fun reading.

On to my reading and lessons for the day 🙂 

I am currently reading a book recommended by a girlfriend about financial investments. She raved about how women are missing out on this great opportunity- while men are investing, women are simply saving. The book is called- MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins. 

Wow. For a finance book it is surprisingly justice-focused. Tony Robbins’ goal in sharing top tips and advice from investors is to allow people from all economic backgrounds access to successfully navigating the secretive stock market world. Some notable quotes that I have read so far: 

“The largest financial institutions are set up to make a profit for themselves, not their clients. Investors may think they are paying fees for high-quality, unbiased advice”. “Frankly, the system is designed to be confusing, so that you’ll give up control to the “professionals” who reap enormous fees by keeping you in the dark.”

“And because Tony’s passion lies in empowering people, he is able to take these conversations from theory to reality, offering tools that nearly anyone can use to improve his or her financial situation.”

“solutions we had created for wealthy investors”

“Tony’s insights and strategies and built an amazing tool called V2MOM, which stands for vision, values, methods, obstacles, and measurement. I used it to focus my work, and ultimately my life, on what I really wanted. The V2MOM program took five of Tony’s questions: 

1. What do I really want? (Vision.) 

2. What is important about it? (Values.) 

3. How will I get it? (Methods.)

 4. What is preventing me from having it? (Obstacles.) 

5. How will I know I am successful? (Measurements.)”

“Look for something you love to do and you do well. Go for it. It will give you satisfaction in life. It could mean money, but it may not. It could mean a lot of titles, but it may not. But it will give you satisfaction.” General Powell and Tony Robbins are saying the same thing. The real joy in life comes from finding your true purpose and aligning it with what you do every single day.

“the best way to change your life is to find people who’ve already achieved what you want and then model their behavior. Want to master your finances? Find a financial master and imitate how he or she deals with money, and you will have found a pathway to power.”

“We’d work because we want to, not because we have to. That’s financial freedom.”

“The secret to wealth is simple: Find a way to do more for others than anyone else does. Become more valuable. Do more. Give more. Be more. Serve more. And you will have the opportunity to earn more—”

“You have to make the shift from being a consumer in the economy to becoming an owner—and you do it by becoming an investor.”

“Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay on self-reliance, and the lines “There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion.”

“Instead of trying to compete, you’ve gotta learn there is a passive way to win. There’s a way to not put all your eggs in one basket. It’s a system to protect yourself against all downsides, because the best investors know they’re going to be wrong, no matter how smart they are.””

“sample ideal portfolio, the exact investment mix that would help you maximize returns with the least amount of downside volatility in any market. What’s a portfolio? If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s just a collection of diverse investments that you put together to try to maximize your financial returns.”

“If you haven’t figured out where you’re going to get the money to invest, you haven’t figured out what your goals are, and you don’t know what the rules of the game are, then access to the best portfolio in the world will be worthless.”

“have to go through a jungle filled with challenge. If you pass through it, you get to the life you desire.”

““What has been very successful for me through my whole life is to not be arrogant about knowing, but to embrace the fact that I have weaknesses; that I don’t know a lot about this, that, and the other thing. The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.”

“And ironically, some of the best ones have very little risk, or they have limited risk with what they call asymmetric risk/reward which means the investors get a big upside potential for very little downside exposure. And that’s what the “smart money” lives for.”

“You will learn how to access a complimentary online platform called Portfolio CheckUp ( ) that will allow you to test-drive your broker and see if you’re truly overpaying for underperformance.”

Robbins finished the chapter by talking about the non-profits and philanthropic work he has started by way of all the profit he has made through the stock market. 


Resources & Deals!

ClassPass is offering $20 for any 5 classes at various gyms/studios across the Bay Area!
Being Yoga is offering $19 for one month of unlimited bikram yoga!

Toast of Berkeley: to foster a helping community of people interested in becoming more confident and effective speakers and leaders
Spiral Gardens Community Food Security Project
Part-time job ideas for busy bees 

Tutor Corps
Elite Tutors

Fun Self Improvement Reading

Money Master the Game

Spring Forward


This is a blog to follow my path through UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare Master’s Program. It is my personal way to organize all of the theories, resources, approaches, ideas, organizations, + other lessons for the day. It will also serve as a diary for me to reflect on my school day, since it is stressful for me and an outlet is needed.

This can also be used for the public to get an inside look into what it is like to enter this program or to learn about social welfare!