I hope you are all well. I've been looking ahead recently towards starting my second year in univeristy and more importantly, starting my social work placement in September. I'm sure a lot of people have reservations about the usefulness and effectiveness of becoming a social worker. I know I even had a few. But I hope this blog post will serve as a remedy for any concerns you may have about undertaking a social work degree.
I aim for this post to be as helpful as possible, as such I will not beat around the bush. The social work course is challenging and at times, extremely overwhelming but the key is to know when you are finding it way too much harder than usual and access support to make it more manageable. The University has loads of amazing support available. Try to take things slowly, seeing each day at a time and celebrating the little accomplishments, whether that be writing up the week's notes, doing some pre-reading, attending a lecture or simply getting out of bed. It is all an achievement.
The course is demanding for a reason and that is something that you have to keep coming back to, reminding yourself of the reasons why you wanted to enrol on a social work course and the impact you can have as a social worker. These should act as the driving force for getting you through those harder times. For more ways on how to keep motivated, read my last blog post.
Reflection is a key skill that is used heavily on the social work course and indeed put in practice after graduation. Reflective writing will enable you to unlock thoughts, emotions and explanations that may otherwise have gone unnoticed. It is therefore extremely valuable to practice your reflective writing before starting any social work course. To understand your clients and their situation, you must first understand yourself and your influences. This, once again, is where reflective writing comes in handy.
If I could have been told any advice when waiting to start university in the summer, it would have been to write a reflective piece about my past and the impact it has had on me.
With all this being said, try not to be too hard on yourself. Allow yourself time to adjust to the different styles of university teaching as well as virtual teaching if a lockdown of sorts is still in place in the Autumn. I know this is easier said than done but don't push yourself either, the social work course is very content heavy so create time within each day just for you.
If you are set on undertaking a social work course, much like I was, then there are a few other suggestions that could prove extremely handy for you during your first year at university. First up, if you do not have a basic underlying knowledge of psychology and sociology, I highly recommend doing some research, whether that be watching a few documentaries, investing in a bit of reading or something else of your choosing.
Next up, I would recommend having a little look at the University's Harvard referencing guide as it can be quite difficult to get the hang of.
Finally, some random points that you may also find useful if you wish to undertake a social work course:
- Have a designated place to pen your thoughts throughout the course, this will help immensely when you come to write reflectively.
- Get to know your peers, after all, they are going through the exact same experience as you. Try to have at least one person you can always go to if you have any questions about the course.
- Try to stay on top of things, assignments can seem rather daunting, so if you tackle them early on, you will thank yourself in the long run.
- Ask questions, get involved, the best way to learn is to engage in the topic.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to talk to the Admissions team, or comment on this blog post below.
Until next time,
Stay safe and keep smiling,