Traveling for Good: An Interview with Remote Social Worker Sojourner White, MSW

Join us for a fascinating conversation with Sojourner White, a social worker who has found a unique way to pursue a career in social while also satisfying her wanderlust and creative pursuits. Sojourner is a traveling social worker and content creator behind the brand The Sojournies. She shares travel guides and tips for remote work and provides an inspiring and unconventional approach to a career in social work. We’ll talk about her experiences traveling the world, working remotely. Get ready to be inspired to pack your bags and hit the road!  


0:00 – Intro 

0:26 — How she got started in social work 

1:55 — Exploring the non-traditional social work path and dismantling the stereotypes 

3:05 — When International Social Work piqued her interest  

3:58 — Studying and teaching abroad in Spain 

5:20 — What her “remote social work” job looks like day to day 

6:43 — Working with organizations that have their own projects going on and how they serve black populations 

9:16 — Social work skills can serve you in any role whether you have the title social worker or not 

11:46 — How she got started with her blog, Sojournies 

12:45 — The mission of Sojournies 

15:35 — Best travel stories and experiences 

20:33 — Takeaways from her education journey 

23:17 — Advice for prospective social workers or students. 

26:44 — Sojourner’s biggest inspirations  

28:42 — The value in claiming a non-traditional social work career path post education 

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Resources Mentioned 

Sojourner’s Instagram @thesojournies 

Sojourner’s YouTube @sojournies 

Pizza served on a volcano! @pizzapacayadedavid 

Similar Degree Programs 

Sojourner got her MSW at the Brown School. If you’re interested in a similar education path like Sojourner, we at recommend checking out these programs: 

-Boston University School of Social Work: Advanced Standing MSW

-Case Western Reserve University: Advanced Standing MSW

-San Jose State University: Advanced Standing MSW

Connect with Us 

Follow us on Instagram at @socialworkdegrees 

Interview Transcript 

Anna Shull  00:00 

Hi, I’m Anna. I’m a licensed social worker interviewing social workers and I’m so excited to be joined today by our guest, Ms Sojourner White. She is a remote social worker, a travel writer, a digital storyteller. And I’m so glad you’re here, Sojourner. 

Sojourner White  00:13 

Thank you for having me. I’m excited to chat. 

Anna Shull  00:15 

I know I just gave a little bit of your spiel but if you don’t mind, will you kind of introduce yourself and what you do? 

Sojourner White  00:21 

Yes, thanks for having me. So, my name is Sojourner. She/Her pronouns. I guess my social work journey …technically, I study International Social Work. That was my initial plan. My bachelor’s is in Psychology and Spanish. So I got into like international life and like I won a Fulbright fellowship to teach English abroad so how I was kind of exposed to the international working world. I knew international careers kind of became an option for me. And then I found my grad program a few years later — a friend of a friend recommended. I’m like, “Girl, I’m not trying to be no Social Worker like I don’t know why you would do this”. Then I went in and read kind of what the Brown School offered for like classes and degree programs and having done work abroad, having done work in the nonprofit education world when I was in AmeriCorps program called Public Allies, and like with Fulbright, I wanted to find something that connected the two. International Social Work just kind of came up. I was like, “Okay, well, let me Google it.” I was in Google trying to figure out what I wanted to do. That was in 2017. Now it’s 2023. I’m a full on social worker. Graduated in May 2020. I’m an early pandemic baby grad. I pivoted to remote social work due to the pandemic and being like, maybe now is not the time to go abroad. It’ll be three years in June at my current role since I graduated.  

Anna Shull  01:47 

Very cool. Do you remember what it was that drew you to social work? Like as you were researching and looking up what the options were? 

Sojourner White  01:54 

Yeah, I feel like I had all the stereotypes I now make on people for having on TikTok about social work. You know, like you watch the movies ,like CPS and foster care and therapy. And then I was just Googling, like, what can you do with a social work degree? Like what do social workers do? And I think I stumbled upon a woman — I think she went to Columbia, and she was doing like, working in like tech? I’m like, “not at a social worker in tech? What is that thing?” So, then I think, because I saw all these non-traditional paths kind of pop up, it got me interested in okay, so what actually can you do with this degree for real. And that’s really what piqued my interest because for me, if I was gonna go back to school again I wanted to make sure it was a for a degree that was as flexible as I am. I’m somebody who really loves doing more than one thing. And it seemed like with the social work degree I can have my hands in a few things while having like a hard skill set that I can still pay the bills with at the same time. 

Anna Shull  02:55 

I love that too, because it really is such a versatile feel. And I feel like there’s so many jobs that you wouldn’t even imagine you could have until you see someone having it and you’re like, oh, we have the same degree. That’s awesome.  

Sojourner White  03:04 

Yeah, it was wild. And then when I found international social work, I’m like, okay! Because the thing about being— I was considering international education— but because like being a black woman and growing up in the U.S. and then going abroad, and I was in a small town when I taught English and like there’s a lot of racial dynamics there, I got interested in how all this stuff plays out globally. Because I had never experienced it outside of being a student and then so, I went to go live abroad. And so that’s how I really kind of piqued my interest to figure out what area of international work I wanted to go into. International Affairs? Eh, I don’t know about that. International Relations? Uh, I don’t know about that. Social Work rose as the one in between all of those for me. 

Anna Shull  03:43 

Yeah, that’s awesome. And I think that social work, I feel like, has more to do with like a person’s perspective of how the world works instead of like, oh, the politics between countries or something. Like, no — it’s people’s true lived experience.  

Sojourner White  03:56 

Literally, literally. For sure. 

Unknown Speaker  03:58 

That’s awesome. Where was it that you were abroad doing Fulbright teaching English? 

Sojourner White  04:02 

Yeah. So I studied abroad in Granada, Spain fell in love with it. I was 20 It was my first time outside of the country… 

Anna Shull  04:08 

I studied abroad in Malaga, Spain. 

Sojourner White  04:11 

I love Malaga. I stayed in their airport traveling we get out in Malaga all the time.  

Anna Shull  04:16 

That’s awesome.  

Sojourner White  04:17 

So yeah, that’s where I ended up and then I loved it so much. I was actually on like the I’m going to my PhD path like that’s what I thought I was going to do. And then I studied abroad and that went out the window. Like I’m not doing that. I’m taking a gap year.  Went with Fulbright to go back to Spain and then they put me in northern Spain in Logroño. So it’s in their wine region called La Rioja so it’s not as touristy. I’m fluent in Spanish now, because where you got to open a bank account, find an apartment, go grocery shopping on a second language, you’re gonna pick it up relatively quickly. You know, I’ve been studying since I was in sixth grade. I’m 28 now, I was like nine or 10 years old. It wasn’t as much conversation, so being in Fulbright and kind of being there for 10 months and 11 months, really helped me kind of propel my Spanish and then also get work experience abroad. I was teaching English, which is not very difficult, in my opinion, but still kind of hard when you’re a native speaker. So that’s where I was for a year. Then, I traveled, of course, and had my Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants moment in Greece for spring break with that friend.  

Anna Shull  04:31 

Yeah.  I love that. I’d love to hear — with your current social work job, like I know that you can do it from just about anywhere, and that it’s remote, but what is it that you do? 

Sojourner White  05:32 

Yeah, so I always say remote social work is not really— like it’s a fake job title, like it’s not really a thing you can Google. It’s just how I can best describe what I do to people who have no idea what I’m actually talking about. So I actually work in evaluations work. So I do a lot of qualitative work: interviews, workshops, focus groups, like last week, I was in interviews all week, talking to people… 

Anna Shull  06:01 

Welcome to a different kind of interview. 

Sojourner White  06:02 

Literally. Literally give interviews, tasks. And so that is actually my day to day, I would say for the most part. And then of course, there’s some report writing in there based off the evaluations that we do. I do some strategic planning as well. Always kind of helping folks strategize. Because I think especially with evaluation, it’s something that a lot of like, grassroots orgs don’t have the funds to do, so evaluation can be expensive. Like it’s an expensive thing and it’s hard to have somebody in house. So kind of where we come in, we’re actually a group of consultants under one roof. So it’s like, I don’t have to worry. I’m like an independent consultant, I have health insurance, and dental and all those good things. But we’re all under one umbrella kind of doing this work. And that can be around all different kinds of topics. I’ve done projects related to reproductive justice, entrepreneurship, in particular, for black entrepreneurs. In the Midwest, we’ve had a lot of projects around that way. Like public health, is always a thing that comes up and is related to like racism, and how does that affect like a certain program and how they serve predominately black populations. I’m based in Milwaukee, and most of our team is here. So we do have some local projects as well as nationwide ones, and then one international project as well. So we’re kind of all over. But I would say those are some of the major areas we work in. And it’s cool, because we get to kind of respond to proposals based on our interests as well. I’m the only social worker, actually, at our organization. People have backgrounds in like public health, political science. At one point, let me see urban education, education, like nonprofit, you have people of all different skill sets, coming together to do evaluation work with very different lived and personal experiences. So it makes it pretty enriching based on the projects that we do. 

Anna Shull  07:54 

That’s cool. So is it that you’re partnering with organizations that have their own projects going on? And that’s what you’re helping to evaluate? 

Sojourner White  08:01 

Yeah, so some of them have like more initiatives, like pilot programs, like a lot of the —out of a lot of the June 2020 things and like supporting Black people, there were a lot of like entrepreneurship programs that came out of that. So we’ve done evaluation of a few of those and seeing like, how they can be sustainable, how they can help folks has been one thing. They’re just your regular program eval, like people’s like, “We’ve been doing it for 50 years, we want to like evaluate it now.” So yeah, we do more like run of the mill like regular ones, too. But then we also have a lot of flexibility innovation, because we specialize in storytelling evaluation. So figuring out how you tell the impact of a program beyond just like “15% of people did this,“ or “18% or 50% did that,” like how do you actually talk to people? So we’ve really harnessed, and I guess refined, our virtual storytelling engagements, because I got hired in 2020. And so, I’ve been virtual all three years and we do and we do fly, and do in person things every now and again but really, storytelling is like our bread and butter of figuring out how folks can better tell the story of their participants beyond just the just the numbers and stats. 

Anna Shull  09:16 

That’s so cool to hear about. It stuck out to me how you mentioned how, like your actual job title isn’t social worker. And I think that’s a common misconception that people think, “Oh, if I get a social work degree, I have to type into Indeed, “social work” and see what comes up.” Whereas really, if you have that degree, then no matter what you do, you’re being a social worker in that job. 

Sojourner White  09:35 

Essentially, too, especially for me, I’m in very non-traditional macro remote social work. It’s not going to pop up. Yes, I talk about this all the time like, being a non-traditional, macro remote social worker, like my job title is never going to be social worker. It’s just not going to be. It’s the degree I have but I think due to the program I did and the skills I got like I did take a program eval course. I did do like a focus group. So I was in these spaces, I did like a policy program where I got to be like a policy scholar. So I got a bunch of these skills. And now I’m just choosing which one to use today. Even though it’s grounded in evaluation, I feel like I still use a lot of other skills. Like, motivational interviewing, they use more for therapy, you actually use that a lot with clients, and trying to get them through like a process and like, encourage them. And like, all those kinds of things still come up, even if it’s not in your official title. 

Anna Shull  10:31 

Yeah, that’s so interesting to hear, because we get such a broad, like toolbox, I guess, in school, because I also took the program evaluation policy classes. And then since I went more micro, it’s like, those skills still pop up in different ways. So it’s interesting to hear that your micro clinical skills you learned still pop up, even though you’re more macro focused. 

Sojourner White  10:49 

Yes, like knowing how to talk to people in a therapeutic way, especially in the pandemic, in like a world like anti blackness like and racism like you, like you do have to know how to talk to people. And that doesn’t mean you’re always like diagnosing them per se. But there is a way that like, in my role, in particular, I have to like build relationships and manage client relationships, regardless if I’m direct service or micro or not. And so I think those interpersonal soft skills that a lot of social workers have are way more beneficial than than many of us— 

Anna Shull  11:21 

—and understanding like how people are coming into a room like what they’re coming into a room with, because yeah, you’re gonna get different information based on how you ask and how comfortable they feel. And yeah, that’s really interesting to hear. So obviously, there’s been the whole other part, The Sojournies part of your life. Can you talk a bit about that, and what else you get up to while you’re working? 

Sojourner White  11:42 

Yeah, I definitely make my way. So, I started Sojournies when I studied abroad. You know, I was like, “I’m gonna have a study abroad blog”. I’ve blogged like, three times, I think. I think back in the day was Now I’m a WordPress girl. But I started it really just to share my experiences, because I never been abroad, I wanted to share with my family. Sojournies is like a play on my name, so it fit perfectly. And what is it? How many years has it been? Seven, eight years, I can’t count. But now it’s 2023. It’s a full on business. I do social media content. And honestly, it’s evolved with me. I started off studying abroad. It started off with then me going in teaching English and actually, that’s when I did my first travel writing for free for a website that talks about black woman’s experiences in Spain. So I was doing that for free and kind of build up a portfolio unintentionally as a travel writer. It continued when I was in AmeriCorps or continue when I was traveling in grad school and interning abroad in Berlin. So it’s evolved with me. But right now my mission with it is really to help 9-5ers, you know, check off those career goals and bucket list dreams to find that freedom and flexibility outside of office. Like that’s what I realized I was doing after all this time. I was like, Yes, I want to work. And I have all these passions and career that maybe one day I’ll be a full time influencer. But I want to figure out how I can do both and how I can enjoy my life and get paid because in order to take the trips I need to have income.  

Anna Shull  13:11 

Right, right. 

Sojourner White  13:12 

I use my nine to five to make that happen. It’s been really fun. I get to do my own stuff on my website. I do a lot of freelance travel writing right now about like living in Milwaukee, which is so funny to me because I would have never thought I will be paid to write about Milwaukee. I’ve done stuff about train travel, I love taking the trains. I got into it in the pandemic just not having many places to go sans a vaccine initially. I took the train from Chicago to California, put it on my Instagram, TikTok, and all of a sudden I’m the train-travel-girl across social media. So it’s a fun outlet. There is a level of like work that goes with it now because I did write a remote social work, kind of one-on-one guide to help other people and social work figure out what area they wanted to work in to possibly live remote life. So that’s been really cool because I did not think I was going to be a social work travel influencer.  

Anna Shull  14:09  

So multifaceted. Just keep adding in things.  

Sojourner White   14:12 

Like, just keep adding stuff in. So it’s been a nice addition to, kind of, a life that was already pretty fun and really abundant and now I’m able to do more. 

Anna Shull  14:22 

That’s awesome. There is something fulfilling about being able to not only have like the fun yourself, but also help others or like just using your experience be like, “and you can do it too. And this is how.”  

Sojourner White  14:32 

Yeah, and I think you know, there’s a level of like passport privilege, right, of being from the US and all the things that come with that. And there still are people who can’t in the same time who have very similar privileges or lifestyles and so trying to figure out how do we make it work for us because not everybody can quit their job to travel the world. You know, it sounds great. It sounds cool. I have friends who’ve done it and it’s been amazing, but that’s not everybody’s paths are trying to figure out how can I set up my life? So maybe travel, you know, quarterly or more than that, or have a remote job and set up shop at a hostel for a few weeks in the wintertime. Whatever works. 

Anna Shull  15:12 

There’s a lot of creativity that goes into it too, which is fun. Very cool. 

Sojourner White  15:17 

Yeah, and oddly enough, interviewing people helps because I interview for stories. So, there’s an overlap between my social work skills and my travel writing too now, like can do more journalism pieces talking to people about their travel experience. I really lean on those open ended questions that I create at work. 

Anna Shull  15:35 

That’s awesome. How many countries have you been to? Do you have a favorite? 

Sojourner White  15:39 

I’m at 19 or 20 something around there. So I’m thinking 18 to 20 range, I think. Do I have a favorite? Oh. My favorite. I mean, I went to South Africa last year, and it was pretty great. It was a pretty great trip. I went with some friends. I feel like that was one of my favorite girls trips that I’ve ever been on just being in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Cape Town is gorgeous, like stunning.  

Anna Shull  16:17 

That’s awesome. 

Sojourner White  16:17 

Beautiful city, like looks unreal. But I will say one of my favorite travel experiences was hiking up Volcano Acatenango. I did it last year. It was like 6 hours uphill. Let me tell you, I was out of breath. Could not breathe with altitude. I was like, panting but the porters stayed with me the whole time. I was the last person to make it but I made it. 

Anna Shull  16:39 

Right. And that’s what counts. 

Sojourner White  16:40 

I got the view. But I would say it was one of my favorite travel experiences ever because one, I’m never doing it again. Yeah, and also it was just like a once in a lifetime thing to do. So I was, yes. Probably my favorite travel experience. Guatemala is not someplace I thought I’d ever visit, but kind of rose to my to my bucket list. Then I also did a hike where I ate pizza on a volcano, which is also really fun. It was made on the volcano.  

Anna Shull  17:08 

Oh, wow. 

Sojourner White  17:09 

And then you eat…Yes.  

Anna Shull  17:10 

Like cooked with the heat from the volcano or? 

Unknown Speaker  17:13 

Yeah, like the rocks. The whole chef, his name is on Instagram. It’s like @pizzapacayadedavid and he’s like a chef who him his team bring their stuff up every day and they make pizza like that’s his livelihood… 

Anna Shull  17:27 

That’s so cool.  

Sojourner White  17:28 

…does this on this volcano so I will say Guatemala has had the most unique travel experiences but South Africa was just a bucket list trip for sure.  

Anna Shull  17:37 

Yeah, that’s so cool to hear because those are things you’d never even like think exist in the world. Like, why would you think there’s pizza made on a volcano? And then when you get out to see more things “it’s like, oh, wow, of course, like, yeah, I’ll eat this.” 

Sojourner White  17:48 

Literally, I went viral on Twitter for talking about it. Like I just tweeted one day. And next thing I know people are like, I don’t believe you. I’m like, “Well, why would I lie?” 

Anna Shull  17:57 

Like, how would I make that up? 

Sojourner White  18:00 

You see that? I could not I did not think there was a thing. I saw it on TikTok and said “Well, I’m going to Guatemala.” So that was part the experience. Yeah. 

Anna Shull  18:10 

How do you usually decide where to go? Like do you have a list you follow or just opportunities come up? 

Sojourner White  18:15 

It’s kind of a mix. I feel like now I’m getting more like brand and partnership opportunity just through Sojournies which is really cool to have but I’m also like, I want to vacation for leisure as well. I know I travel for like writing purposes, but also I just want to relax. It really depends. I think right now I’m in the phase of deciding where are places that I can work remotely from because we are very meeting based and collaborative. So there is still some timezone things I have to keep in mind. So I think about okay, where do I want to work remotely from like, really the Western Hemisphere, I can work from this, like Canada, Central and South America, for the most part, I can work remotely from if I wanted to. But also there are places that I just want to travel to, you know, I want to just go visit and experience without working, leaving my laptop at home like I don’t want to have anything to do with it kind of situation. So that’s kind of where I’m at right now. So I end up in Guatemala I realized they were in the same timezone. I’m like well I can go for like my last few days of work at the end of the year and just stay just explore the country too. So I think I’m more of that person. I don’t really spend more than a few weeks in one place because I also like to be at home. Because also I’m paying off student loans. I’m trying to save some money while also trying to travel at the same time. So that has some balance there. But right now I’m really into like the Western Hemisphere. I speak Spanish too. And because I went from no international travel to just Europe, like a lot of my experiences were in Europe, so I can now take the time to be over here in the Western Hemisphere. And kind of make a way through Central and South America is my current kind of goal as well as like West Africa is another area I would love to do more trips in right now. Asia? Maybe 2024.  

Anna Shull  20:02 

It’s hard to get there. It takes a long time to get to Asia whereas Guatemala… 

Sojourner White  20:06 

If I’m going, I’m staying for like three weeks. That flight? I’m staying. 

Anna Shull  20:10 

I’m moving in! Switching gears a little bit. What do you remember about like your degree program whenever you were in school and what’s like some things you loved or were surprised about? 

Sojourner White  20:23 

I think, as someone who didn’t get a BSW I was just surprised at, again, the variation of social work. I think my school had like eight concentrations or something, and I just didn’t know all you could do. I think that was just really surprising to me as someone who wasn’t immersed in it as an undergrad. It just really shocked me. Oh, social workers are really out here and then come to find out once, my mom told all of her friends, and everybody’s like, Oh, yeah, I’m social worker. I’m a social worker. And then I was like, “Oh, well I got all y’all who been around me all these years who I had no idea had social work degrees”. So I think I was really surprised about how much I stereotyped it as a profession personally, and how much it was like, actually, there’s more to it than I think I envisioned initially was one of the biggest things. I think the second thing that really surprised me was how, I don’t know if it was a surprise, but learning about policy was really interesting to me as a, again, somebody who studied like theory versus psychology, like, human behavior stuff I kind of understood, and all of that, but the policy work that the policy class that we took, things like Social Work Policies and Services, like my foundation course, like I had never really dug into that part of history before. My dad’s a history teacher. So like, he used to recite all kinds of history to me as a kid but having like this deep policy knowledge of how all these things work, I think really got me even more excited to do system level work to understand how they’re all connected, because I had never had the opportunity to dig that deep into like, I think I studied, like the Immigration Act of like 1965. And so I learned about all this, all this, the amount of just contextual knowledge we get along with like the hard skills, like the combination, I think I really enjoyed in my experience. I don’t know why I was surprised but like, I still was when I was in it. It made it really exciting, even though I felt really tired back then, I think I still was very excited to really dig in to understand how everything worked across policies, international and in the U.S. and then also across like communities too. 

Anna Shull  22:42 

That’s really cool to hear. I’ve worked alongside people with similar but different backgrounds, like mental health counseling. And I remember one time my coworker was like, why are you in a policy class? Like, what? What? And I was like, it’s important. It changes everything. 

Sojourner White  22:56 

Yeah, like, mental health, you know, work doesn’t get funded because of the policies, so it shows the interconnectedness and some of the dysfunction we know. Right? 

Anna Shull  23:08 

Right. And the historical context of who was included in this policy and who wasn’t included in this policy? And like, yeah. 

Sojourner White  23:15 

Then you learn all the loopholes, like it was fascinating.  

Anna Shull  23:17 

Yeah, that’s super interesting. What advice would you have for prospective social workers or students? 

Sojourner White  23:24 

Oh, advice? One, I would say take classes outside of things that you may not think you need, because chances are you will. I didn’t take a Strategic Planning class and I probably should have like it was an option once. I’m like, I’m tired. Like, I don’t want to do it, which is a valid thing. I just got to rest. It’s also like, “Dang, girl, you really probably should have been up in there to learn something.” So I would say if you have even like a little hint of interest in something, go for it. Because it’s one of the few spaces where you’re able to do stuff like that, you know? You’re still in school while you’re getting, oh, I guess we’re kind of paying them to teach us at that point, but with all of that, you’re able to kind of test stuff out. And I feel like that’s something that you definitely don’t get as much when you have a 9-5 unless you’re in a space that prioritizes like on-the-job training and learning. So if you do have any interests, go for them. I will say maximize all those outside opportunities, as well. I taught an undergrad class around race and ethnicity one of the semesters I was in in grad school. I did like the Policy Scholar Program, even though that wasn’t my area of focus for real and so I feel like those were two experiences that really helped me in the long run even though they weren’t part of my degree program. If you have any space to kind of pursue something, also trying to find paid things. Pay us. It’s also really nice. So again, if you have like the space and capacity, pursuing those experiences. Even outside of social work, like the school itself. I studied social entrepreneurship with my program so I had some business classes. It was cool kind of being in that space as well. And then, yeah, and then finding balance, like don’t stress yourself out, make sure you’re eating, and like working out and like prioritizing your like health. I think it’s a big thing. I got into running when I was in grad school. I lived in St. Louis right by Forest Park and so I ran like a half marathon because the park is huge. It gave me a goal to work towards outside of school and work that was just for me that was something that I could do and I think it helped me find that balance in my very busy days. Kind of gave me something else to focus on. 

Anna Shull  25:45 

Yeah. And that is so important, have something that’s separate, because obviously, once you get your degree you have it, but you have to make it to that point. You can’t leave yourself behind somewhere. 

Sojourner White  25:55 


Anna Shull  25:56 

Is that something that you find you have to work into your days now? How do you do that?  

Sojourner White  26:02 

I’m still really big into working out. I got into it in undergrad taking like fitness classes, but they were like, cool. It kind of trickled over and living by a park was nice. Even now I’m at 5am gym girlie. So I will be in the gym in the morning before work. It’s like my favorite time of the day. No one’s awake, my emails not pinging, no one’s sending me stuff on Instagram or TikTok. I can just kind of focus on something else. I’ll put on my headphones that are noise cancelling, and just be in my zone. I really do value that time like those two hours, just pure working out and just doing my own thing. Every day is something that I really love and enjoy and prioritize for sure. 

Anna Shull  26:44 

That’s awesome to hear. Who has inspired you like through your journey?  

Sojourner White  26:48 

Ooh, so many people. I think honestly, like my parents. My mom, especially, because I think she taught me what freedom and flexibility was outside the office before I knew what it was For myself. Like the way she’s organized her life. She’s like a urban farmer minister. So like, she has a lot of things going on too. I think I get that from her. My dad and step dad are both really passionate about the work that they do. So like the in the community or like teaching, like, I’ve always kind of been surrounded by people who are passionate, and also found a way to do what they love and get paid for it at the same time. So I think those are like my first immediate influences. Obviously, being named after Sojourner Truth is always like a heavy, heavy burden to bear. No pressure. I’m always thinking about historical figures, especially black historical figures who sacrifice a lot for me to be able to work from my room and work from different countries too. I don’t take that lightly or take it for granted either that a lot of what I have is because they fought for it. So I always keep that in mind. And then I think I’m really inspired by like my co-workers where I currently am. We’re all very different. I feel like we’re all we all have our different experiences and I learn from them on a daily basis about random life things or work things or a new way to think. I think that’s a beautiful place to be in for work. 

Anna Shull  28:19 

Yeah, that’s awesome to hear. And very cool that your mom also had like a non-traditional kind of, piecing together lots of things, because now you’re a great example of that, too. 

Sojourner White  28:29 

She was a blueprint for sure. 

Anna Shull  28:31 

Yeah, and I am glad that like incoming social workers get to see journeys like yours, where it’s like, oh, I don’t have to work for Child Protective Services, if I don’t want to, like if I want to do anything, you can. 

Sojourner White  28:43 

Yeah, and I think because of social work, like we’re taught, like, you can’t do this, you can’t do that, but who’s gonna stop you? Right? You have the skills. You know, I suppose all the time. Focus more on your skills and your degree. Yes, you’re a social worker. Beautiful. Love it. Claim it for all its successes and flaws, right? But at the same time don’t forget who you are outside of a title. Don’t forget that you have all these skills that you can tap into that may not fit into a social worker box but that doesn’t negate that you have them and they can pay your bills, or you can travel, or do whatever, or just stay at home or whatever you want to do with your with your free time.  

Anna Shull  29:20 

Yeah, and the social work job doesn’t have to be your whole life, your whole identity, because there’s so much outside of that. 

Sojourner White  29:26 

No, there’s so much, you can explore. Obviously if you don’t want to monetize your passions you don’t have to. You can do whatever you want and you can find things to do that aren’t, you know, super work related outside. You know, so I think I learned after undergrad that I didn’t have any hobbies. My hobbies were attached to school so I had to find new ones. Working out, and photography and so, giving yourself that space once you graduate, that you may not have 100%, right, in grad school, or even in undergrad finding that space. I think it’s really important to kind of find a better balance once you’ve once you leave. 

Anna Shull 30:03 

I agree. Well thank you so much for your insight and for sharing your journey. This has been awesome to hear so I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to interview and tell us all about it.  

Sojourner White 30:15 

No problem. Thank you for reaching out and having me.  

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Sojourner White

Crafting the Perfect MSW Personal Statement: A Conversation with Michelle Bruxer, MSW

Episode 6

Join us for a great conversation with Michelle Bruxer, MSW aka the Founder of MSW Helper, helping future social workers with crafting the perfect MSW personal statements and applications.