I am currently sitting on our couch, listening to country music (in particular, Luke Bryan’s ‘Play It Again’ which I have indefinitely fallen in love with) and have no feelings of guilt or panic for future essays that are due or readings I have to complete. A week ago, I completed 13 weeks of my second semester of Social Work and I am equal parts exhausted as I am filled with relief.
This semester was incredibly difficult and my workload with four subjects was so much more than I was expecting after having only studied three subjects last semester. It was exhausting, but it was also exciting and full of so many incredible moments that have me becoming more and more passionate toward this career, toward everything that social work stands for, every single day.
Favorite subject this semester:
My favourite subject this semester was actually one that I came into three weeks late (long story short, I found out that I wasn’t doing one of the subjects that were a pre-requisite for my field work next year and so, days before the census date, had to drop politics and enrol in Self in Professional Helping). I worked my butt off to catch up, to get ahead and to get the grades that I wanted-and I didn’t always succeed how I was hoping to, but along the way I learnt some incredible things about myself. I had the opportunity to really delve into my own mind, ask myself questions and discover why I acted in ways that I did, why I felt the way I did at certain times throughout the day and semester. It was truly a subject of self-discovery. It also happened to be a subject that two of my closest friends were in, I realised (and met) my new favourite lecturer and the class was small so we were all able to connect on so many levels, it made class that much more personal.
I am most in my element when I:
Have done the readings for that week. Which is probably a) the lamest thing you’ve ever read, and that I’ve ever written, and b) so boring, I know! Honestly though, in tutorials when I’ve done my readings and I know what the lecturer is trying to discuss with us, and I understand it all, it leaves me feeling SO full of empowerment-like, I’ve put myself in this amazing situation where I can answer questions, discuss topics, carefully (and politely) argue points with another classmate and most importantly, write some damn good essays along the way! Last semester I stopped reading the work we were assigned for a few weeks just because that’s what everyone else was doing (and quite frankly, it became difficult to manage my time), but this semester, I stuck it out and without my knowing it turned out that in those tutorials where I understood the topic; that was when I was most in my element.
Most scared moment:
Moments before getting up to speak at the Neurodevelopmental Mini-Symposium. Honestly, no class, no essay result, no tutorial where we had to discuss our opinions with the rest of the class, was more terrifying than sitting in that chair at the symposium moments before hearing my name being announced. If you’ve read my last post you’ll remember that I felt so terrified that I thought I was going to vomit in front of every person in the room who had such high hopes for me. (Spoiler: I don’t vomit and it turned out being the most amazing experience, but still, no moment beats how terrified I was that day).
Favorite study spot:
I’d love to say I have one, but I honestly don’t. Although, I do enjoy sitting down in a specific chair at the table in the lounge/living room, laying all my books out, opening my laptop and just getting through everything!
There were a few proud moments this semester. Three in particular come to mind. The first; speaking at the mini-symposium (I know, I keep mentioning this, but man I am proud that I had the courage to stand up and tell my story). The second; receiving a distinction in two of my most difficult subjects for the first essays of the semester. The third; being accepted as a student mentor for next semester’s first year social work students.
Most humbling moment:
All of the above, really. Even though I was so proud throughout each of those moments, I was equally humbled.
I feel most empowered when:
I pull something off that I never thought I would. Example; co-ordinating a second annual charity walk for an organisation quite near and dear to me-it was bucketing down with rain on the day, many people asked if it was cancelled, I was drenched at 7am as we began to set the event up and yet, despite it all, 160 plus people turned up and everyone had an amazing day. Quite a success if you ask me, and quite an empowering moment!
Most inspirational moment:
After I spoke at the Symposium (yes, I know, I’m talking about it again), many incredible things happened, but there are two in particular that have stuck with me. The first, is that a lady came up to me and explained that her sister had been in quite a similar situation that I had been (different contexts but in short, both of our dreams of becoming nurses had unfortunately been put on an indefinite hold) and she just mentioned to me how wonderful it was to hear of someone else’s experience and how much that had meant to her. The second, was that I was invited into the Cardiac ICU (intensive care unit) to have a look around, to speak with the nurses, to just see what was happening and wow, I still get chills from that afternoon.
I am more motivated and inspired than ever to move South and to work in a Children’s Hospital with the Cardiac patients on the ward. I am however, tossing up the idea of possibly working in the ICU with the Cardiac patients there.
I am currently on a break, so loads of relaxing! Explore my little town, eat loads of good foods, create in any way that I possibly can, read (a lot), binge-watch One Tree Hill (my new favourite TV show) and just find fun in every corner that I can.
Last semester’s challenge:
Juggle four semesters whilst organising a charity walk and maintaining a social life.
Did I do it?
Absolutely! Granted, it was intense at times and there were tears, but I survived, I did well in all my subjects, I organised the charity walk and managed to spend some free time with new and old friends alike.
Challenge for next semester?
I recently subscribed to this website that basically emails you about current Australian Policies, changes that are made, all that jazz because one of my lecturers said to us that it would be wise for us to really know what was going on. Even though I subscribed, I actually delete the emails whenever they come through purely because I couldn’t be bothered or maintain that I’m simply ‘too busy’ to read them. Thus, next semester, I’d really love to begin reading through them and begin to understand the policies that, one day, I’ll be working under.
Also, take more photos.
Advice to future self:
Never be afraid to stay in on a Saturday night and have a solo dance party in your room. Don’t be afraid of what other people are going to think if you decide to stay in on a Friday night and write that essay that’s due in 10 days.
But also, never be afraid to just take a break, to just drink a cup of tea, read a book, meditate, do some yoga or watch One Tree Hill. Just do you, girl, because this is your one life, and so long as you are enjoying every minute, then you’re doing it right.
Once again, this post has been inspired immensely by my friend, who I miss intensely as she continues to work toward becoming an incredible Doctor on the other side of the world, Sami.