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My Life’s Crooked Path

August 2, 2022

I smoked a lot of dope in high school. I dropped out without completing my grade thirteen.

I went from part time to full time at Calderone shoes.

A girl I was dating at the time convinced me to return to school.

I went to Seneca for audio-visual techniques.

While I found that program basic, I took a psychology course as an elective and fell in love with it.

Almost 21, I was able to apply to York University, turning 21 by the time of admission. I was accepted as a mature student, leaving Seneca after just one semester.

That first year was tough. I didn’t have the academic skills. I got failing grades on my essays. I ran to get help. My grades improved substantially. B+ average.

I graduated with a Specialized Honours BA in Psychology.

I wanted to go on to graduate school and hopefully obtain a PhD.

I applied to five graduate schools and was rejected at all five. Seems you needed a straight A average just to be considered.

I took a job in a group home. It was run by Thistletown Regional Centre, a major children’s mental health centre.

There, I not only learned so much, but was introduced to the profession of social work.

I applied to the university of Toronto and got a conditional acceptance to the Master of Social Work program.

I was required to take a course on Canadian Political Science.

It looked like I was going to fail that course as I just couldn’t understand the material. Happily the prof let me negotiate the assignments.

I promised I would become a good social worker and never become a political scientist.

He passed me with a B+ so I met criteria for admission to the social work program at U of T. I am not sure I fully earned the grade.

Upon graduating I landed my first job as a social worker at the Toronto Catholic Children’s Aid Society.

It was a terrible place to work. Turnover was high.

Within two months I was considered senior staff. By five months there I left, getting a job back at Thistletown regional Centre.

That will forever be remembered as my best place of employment. It set the roots for the social worker I was to become.

From high school days stoned, to dropping out to further education on a non-linear path.

It turned out OK.

Life isn’t linear. It has its challenges, disappointments, ups and downs.

Ride it. Peak behind doors. Check things out.

You can still be an active participant making the best of what’s available.

That part is up to you.


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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

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