Emily Hirschler pursues passion for helping others through social work

Emily Hirschler has always had a passion for helping others and building relationships in her community, so she chose to major in social work at Ohio University Chillicothe. She was just starting to hit her stride as a college student when the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. The Chillicothe High School graduate stayed focused on her goals and plans to continue her social work education when she graduates next fall. This semester she has interned with the Chillicothe City School District.

Why did you choose Ohio University Chillicothe?
Ohio University Chillicothe was a great option for me because it allowed me to be closer to my family and I had always heard great things about the social work program here. I also knew it would give me the opportunity to experience more one-on-one interactions with my professors and peers, which was something I really valued.

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?
I believe this moment happened to me while I was taking my statistics course sophomore year. I remember listening to my first lecture online thinking there was no way I could do it. After long hours of studying, I took my first exam and was so excited to see that I did really well. This was especially hard for me because most classes were still online due to COVID, and I was balancing a lot of different challenges at the time. I think seeing that score gave me the confidence and reassurance that “I’ve got this” and all my hard work and long hours of studying were eventually going to pay off. 

What was the hardest hill you have had to climb as a student? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?
Freshman year of college was definitely a year of many challenges as I had to adjust to a new environment, courseload, friendships, etc. I struggled a lot my first semester balancing everything and by the second semester when I felt like I was finally starting to get the hang of things, COVID happened. I had to adjust all over again in an entirely new way. This was a difficult time for many students, but I was grateful and lucky to have the support of my family. I worked hard and stayed motivated while keeping in mind that this was an adjustment period for everyone. With each obstacle, whether it was COVID, school, or something else in my life, I continued to remind myself what I was working towards and that it was all going to be worth it. 

What are your favorite OHIO memories?
A lot of my favorite memories come from the simple moments spent in class or the new learning opportunities I’ve gotten to experience through the social work program. This year especially, I’ve had the opportunity of experiencing an internship that has taught me so many things and built many new relationships with those in my community. I’ve also gotten the chance to hear about my cohort’s different learning experiences and it’s been amazing to see how far we’ve all come. While it’s not always easy, I’m so grateful that I’ll be able to look back on my time at OHIO Chillicothe and appreciate how much I’ve grown as a student and person.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?
Class! Life can get in the way and going to class may feel like that extra burden that will just set you over the edge when all you want is a break. This was something I experienced and quickly learned that it was hurting more than helping. I think not missing out on OHIO student involvement, whether it’s clubs, organizations, football games, (for me, class), etc. helps maintain that motivation you need to do well and keep going. 

What are your next steps or plans?
After earning my BSW (Bachelor of Social Work), I plan to attend Ohio University Athens to pursue an MSW (Master of Social Work) through the one-year advanced standing social work program. Through my internship, I have grown a passion for working with children and hope to become a school social worker. After earning my MSW, I plan to obtain my LSW (Licensed Social Worker) and eventually LISW (Licensed Independent Social Worker).

February 28, 2023
Staff reports