I spent ten hours yesterday working on a fresh draft of my statement of purpose for graduate school. I am applying for an MSW in Social Work in Nonprofit/Social Enterprise Administration. I cranked out something I feel is a powerful and honest reflection of myself, my philosophy and my abilities and potential in the field.
A good page of this winning essay is devoted to one of my favorite quotes: ‘‘Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.’’ I supply a concrete and detailed example of doing just that in a situation (teaching English in Mexico) in which I questioned my own abilities but stuck to the principle of this quote in order to make a productive difference.
The problem is I have always attributed this quote to one of my great social work role models, Eleanor Roosevelt.
This quote, I just discovered, is not from Eleanor. It’s from Teddy.:smack:
I spent most of my paper expounding on social justice for immigrants and lauding the social work program on International Social Welfare. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Teddy Roosevelt was a racist imperialist asshole. His general manner of leadership in this area couldn’t be further from my stated goals and principles.
But the quote. Man I love that quote. It has been my guiding principle of social work from day one.
Do I have to axe it now? Does it matter who said it? Can I use it without sourcing it? Can I quote it without putting a bad taste in the mouths of a social work admissions board? Are there any other quotes similar to it that don’t come with such a controversial messenger?
Damn. Damn. Damn.