[I work at a day shelter for homeless/transitioning women] Once a week, one of my senior staff members directed a class for the women who use our facility called All about me. The class focuses on different aspects of who we are and how we react to different situations in order to better understand who we are. So last week’s topic was “am I an interesting person? and if so, what makes me an interesting person?” This seems to be the themeline of my experience thus far. The women I work with do not fit in the stereotypical image of a homeless woman. these ladies have degrees, families, jobs, and stories to tell. I learned a lot about who the women were as individuals during week one.

This week,  I have picked up on some of the disorders some of the women have. I really appreciate that because I am learning first-handedly that people who suffer from mental illnesses-in most cases- function in society quite normally. Some of the women do things that make it apparent they are not mentally sound, but to an untrained mind, you would never know. I found this very interesting because I am interested in clinical psychology and I believe had i gone straight to graduate school for clinical psychology without such an experience I would have a hard time picking up on the mental disorders people may have. Thus far, I am learning that everything isnt what it seems and so far, two major stereotypes (of homeless women and mentally ill persons) have been deconstructed! I am looking forward to the many more lessons to come!

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