Last year, a friend of mine created a blog post in which she reviewed her first semester of medical school-when she visited me all the way from USA, I mentioned how in love with that post I was and, like the kind person she is, encouraged me to reflect on my first semester in social work. Thus, when she was on her flight home, I was on my laptop doing exactly that- reflecting on what was an emotional and exhilarating semester.
Favourite subject so far:
Initially it started as human rights and social justice, but I think my favourite class ended up being community work. I love how it allowed me to experience a side of social work that I never even knew existed. I love that I got the chance to really see what I can do, to challenge myself and to challenge what I already knew. It was the most challenging subject mostly because it was a second year subject, filled with second and third year students who all seemed to just have it all together, unlike me; but my god it quickly became my favourite.
I am most in my element when:
I am doing yoga. I used to be in this frame of mind where I needed to push myself to do intricate and difficult poses, but since I began studying social work, I have come to just appreciate the fact that I get to have 30-60 minutes of down time, post-study or pre-study, all to myself.
Most scared moment:
Walking into a second year class all by myself knowing that I would know no one in the class-in this same class, I was put into a group that I was terribly intimidated by (the idea of being in a group with mostly third years students who totally “had it together” was terrifying!) However, I actually learned that I had a lot more to offer on the readings, the subject and the assessment than I originally thought.
Favourite study spot:
I’m not sure if I have one yet, but I do enjoy studying on the bottom floor in the library-I have a little area that allows me to be mostly isolated, but I get to watch what else is happening around the floor. Or in my room at home- my desk is set up right at the window which faces the mountains and is the absolute perfect study place after a long day at Uni.
I think my proudest moment was when I was working with my group that I aforementioned (the mostly third year students in my second year subject). I had written my part of the project and each of them stated how incredibly well written the piece was and how well I had articulated exactly what needed to be said.
Most humbling moment:
Being asked by an organisation to be a guest speak at a Mini-Symposium that was going to be focused on neurodevelopment in patients with Congenital Heart Defects.
I feel most empowered when:
I am organised. Probably the most boring answer, but it’s true! When I have done the readings, I can take part in class and it just feels…good (indescribably so).
Most inspirational moment:
Hearing real-life stories about the work that the professors have taken part in. Hearing of the good that can be done and the change that we can help initiate once we have this degree, has been truly surreal.
At this point in time I am still so interested in being a social worker in a children’s hospital working with children and adolescents with Congenital Heart Defects. However, since the Community Work subject, I have become so fascinated with working with communities either nationally or internationally. I think that’s the exciting thing about this degree is that in each subject I learn that there are so many different career plans I can follow, so I feel like I’ll be changing my mind consistently (which I am totally okay with).
It’s time for a holiday- since I survived my first semester on campus I am going to absolutely be making the most of the next three months of break.
Challenge for next semester?
My biggest challenge will be trying to juggle four subjects for the first time ever, as well as organising a charity walk in my town. Although I do think that these challenges will be half the fun-seeing how far I can push myself, how much work I can take on before I feel like I can’t handle anymore, and maybe that sounds intense and slightly crazy (maybe it is) but I’ve always loved being busy! I’ve loved the idea of studying ridiculously hard whilst also maintaining my volunteer work and a somewhat normal social life (okay, you can definitely call me crazy, I won’t blame you).
Advice to future self?
Make a plan-as boring or as tedious it might get, having a plan, having a to-do list, 110% helps.
Never neglect making time for fun, and if all else fails, make a cup of tea and read a damn good book.