A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Gateway student Savannah Buck is using her experience to help others in social work field

Part of a continuing series on the lives of NKY’s college students

By Natalie Hamren
NKyTribune reporter

Gateway Community & Technical College human services student Savannah Buck is using her experience with addiction to, hopefully, help others in the field.

Buck said she lost her mother to addiction, so she thinks that will help her understand where people are coming from and not have any kind of judgment toward them.

“I’ve lived in foster care. I lost my mom to addiction,” Buck said. “And it kind of gave me that perspective that not everybody who struggles with addiction is a bad person. And I think that that’ll be really valuable because I’ll be able to have that perspective of a person look at them and have that unconditional positive regard that just because they struggle with this, they’re not a bad person.”

Buck decided to go back to school after “just barely making it by” while being a single mom.

“I had my son right after high school. My son was probably almost two when I became a single mom. And just the struggle with that and trying to take care of him and work these tiresome jobs,” Buck said. “I was just tired of just barely making it. I wanted to give my son something better than what I had. So I decided, you know, it’s time. It’s time for me to go back and continue my education and make a better life for both of us.”

Buck said she wants her son to understand all the hard work she’s accomplished in life and how she’s created a good life for him.

“Your children always look at you and they’re like, ‘Oh, my mom or my dad is so lame.’ But I guess I really just want him to understand the struggle and what it’s like to not have everything and try to gather these resources for yourself,” Buck said.

“I guess more than anything, I want him to be appreciative of hard work, and just be appreciative of the things that he’s gotten because I’ve had to work so hard to get myself out of that place. So I just want him to look at the experience that I’ve had in life and to know that it’s hard to get yourself out of there, but it’s possible and I want him to create a good life for himself as well once I’m not able to do that for him.”

While at Gateway, Buck served on the Board as a student representative from fall 2019 to spring 2020. On the board, Buck worked on student engagement. Before the pandemic, she focused on trying to come up with various events that Gateway students would be interested in attending. Some events were more fun and lighthearted, whereas other events dealt with serious topics — such as suicide.

One of Buck’s favorite things about Gateway is the professors. She said one of her social work professors was very insightful and experienced, having worked in almost every social work-related field. Buck also said she feels like she’s gotten to know her classmates well despite only being at Gateway for two-and-a-half years.

“I feel I have grown so much and learned so much about who I am and what I want out of the field. Even though it’s constantly changing, I have a good perspective on what I would like to do,” Buck said.

Buck is set to graduate from Gateway in May and attend Northern Kentucky University in the fall where she will work toward her Bachelor’s in social work. While Buck said she will miss all the friends she’s made at Gateway, she’s excited for the next chapter of her life.

“I’m really nervous about the classroom sizes at NKU and not knowing where I’m going,” Buck said. “So, I guess, for me, it’s just kind of the unknown. But I am excited to be that much closer to graduating and this journey being over.”

After graduating, Buck said she wants to work with children. Currently, she serves as an intern at a children’s home in Cincinnati and she says she would love to work for someplace similar because she “believes in what they do for the community.”

Buck said her college experience, at first, was nerve-wracking. However, after meeting people with similar backgrounds to her, she realized Gateway was the perfect kind of school.

“I was really nervous that being a mom and trying to work and go to school was going to be just an absolute failure,” Buck said. “But then I came to Gateway and expected that there were going to be other people like me, but I guess I didn’t expect to meet so many people who had similar stories as me and I just felt really welcome.”

Related Posts

Leave a Comment