Behind the major with Jaelyn Galan: Changing the system
Jaelyn Galan is a junior working towards her bachelor of science while majoring in social work at West Texas A&M University. Galan is from Lubbock, Texas, and is working hard to succeed in her future career to help others and provide people with the right resources.
Galan’s passion for pursuing social work began as she noticed many people only know social workers as child protective agents as they are commonly portrayed on television. She knew there was an unheard side of the field and wanted to teach the world about the other paths within social work.
“Well, I wanted to be a school counselor as a social worker for children, but then I really thought about it and I liked the hospital setting more,” Galan said. “I like the organization of it, I like to be on my feet and I like to be moving all the time. So, I really want to be a social worker in a hospital, definitely with palliative care.”
Galan enjoys the hospital side of social work as she wants to help families stay positive while losing a loved one. Galan is motivated by knowing many social workers want to help others, but she believes there needs to be a better understanding of social workers’ responsibilities.
“Everyone assumes that I’m going to take their kids away because people only associate social workers with Child Protective Services (CPS),” Galan said. “It makes me wonder if I’m in the right field and I get insecure. I really want to do what I can to change people’s perspective of social workers because there’s so much more to them than CPS that people just don’t know.”
Social workers have many responsibilities and roles aside from CPS. They help others cope with life challenges, whether that’s death, addiction, being diagnosed with an illness, or adopting a child. They work to help as community organization advocates by improving services and programs. Social workers can specialize in a variety of fields, including clinical, child and family, school, healthcare, mental health and addiction abuse. While each specialty has its differences, all social workers aim to develop strategies and provide resources to help others.
“My favorite thing about pursuing social work is being able to help people by being the first person that they turn to for answers,” Galan said. “Spending time going to school teaches me about different cultures, different ways of teaching and communication styles; that way, I’m best equipped for different situations. I want people to feel listened to and that they’re being heard. I want people to have good memories with the social worker, not just bad ones.”
Galan chose WT because her mother went here and adored the campus, but also, the university’s smaller size gave Galan a welcoming impression. While attending WT, Galan has been given great opportunities that she may have missed if attending a larger university. Galan is the student social work association president of the student social work association despite only joining the club a year ago. They needed a new president and she took on the role, which has been “the best thing [she’s]I’ve ever done.” The association sets up a tabletables in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center (JBK) twice a month, where they fundraise, pass out flyers for agencies they help in Amarillo and invite others to join. They volunteer at the Panhandle Adult Rehabilitation Center, The Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center and Amarillo Angels.
“I’ve been able to hold an officer position in the social work club, which has been really awesome,” Galan said. “I’ve been able to build really close relationships with my professors who’ve helped me out to find out where I fit best in the field. Coming here it’s really opened my eyes to what I can accomplish as an individual and become more mature.”
Galan is the president of the student social work association despite only joining the club a year ago. They needed a new president and she took on the role, which has been “the best thing [she’s] ever done.” The association sets up a table in the Jack B. Kelley Student Center (JBK) twice a month, where they fundraise, pass out flyers for agencies they help in Amarillo and invite others to join. They volunteer at the Panhandle Adult Rehabilitation Center, The Bridge Children’s Advocacy Center and Amarillo Angels.
“I’m president of the student social work association and I volunteer for the Catholic student center,” Galan said. “Outside of school, I like to travel and visit new places, kayak, hike, go to concerts and I love seeing my family.”
Galan believes if you’re passionate about something, you should always be confident in your abilities to achieve those goals.
“If you put your mind to something and you have a passion for doing it, then just do it,” Galan said. “You can do whatever you want as long as you have the motivation to do it. Just set yourself up for the future and never have self-doubt.”