Interview with Linda Campbell-Davis

Major

Social Work

Current Position

Medical Social Worker

GC Graduation Year

1980


Why or how did you choose your field? Were there specific experiences that influenced you?

I chose social work as a profession because I wanted to work with people and provide help to those in need. I also wanted a profession that offered variety and skills I could take with me anywhere I went. It was a calling of the heart, and I decided to pursue it despite those who tried to dissuade me because it was not a “prestigious” profession nor did it come with a hefty paycheck.

What’s exciting about your job or this field?

The exciting part of my job is being in a medical setting where you see miraculous things happen on a daily basis. I have the opportunity to work with a variety of people from all walks of life and to help navigate them through a sometimes confusing and intimidating maze of treatment and unfamiliar terminology. No two days are the same, and I continue to learn new things.

What has been a challenge in your career journey?

Perhaps the most challenging part of following the social work career path is deciding on a specific group or field in which to work. There are many avenues to follow—from the city to rural settings, from community organization to providing individual therapy in a counseling agency—and everything in between.

Looking back, would you do anything differently?

I started my career working in Child Protective Services and then providing substance abuse counseling in a metal health setting. Both were stimulating and invaluable experiences in helping me determine my strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes as a social worker. Having the opportunity to work in large urban areas (Chicago and Albany, NY) broadened the horizons of a girl who grew up in rural Indiana. Looking back, I don’t think I would have done anything differently in making my career choices.

How did your liberal arts education assist you in your journey? Are there specific examples you can offer?

My liberal arts education at Goshen College helped open my mind to different ways of viewing the world. Not being Mennonite, I had not been exposed to looking at things from a global and pacifist perspective. I believe my college experience helped me realized that, as much as we are all different, we are basically the same.

Did anyone offer you some memorable advice that you’d like to pass on? Or…what advice would you give to a young person just starting out?

I had wonderful examples of what being a social worker and a good human being were all about from my social work professors. David Harley taught me the value of quiet meditation and to take a deep breath before you enter the world of others. Bob Birkey taught me the value of laughter and smiling in the company of another person. Anna Bowman taught me the art of discipline and the value of “thinking on your feet.” If there is one thing I could pass on to others, it is to follow your passion and seek a vocation that truly interests and completes the person you are.