Social Work: Kristal Allison
Kristal Allison is a Senior Policy Officer at the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
What led you to study at the University of Melbourne?
I chose the University of Melbourne as an accredited provider of the Master of Social Work for its location (I was new to Melbourne from Perth) and for its reputation as an institution with a strong focus on research.
What are your strongest memories of your time at the University of Melbourne?
My strongest memories definitely centre around getting to know my peers, in what was a really intensive but at times very rewarding full-time study experience. Along with 11 others, I participated in the clinical rotations program at Royal Melbourne Hospital for my first placement in 2013 - partnering with another student to work through three different clinical areas of the hospital. Through that shared experience, and under the guidance of a fantastic clinical educator at RMH, I built personal and professional connections that have shaped a broad and intersectional perspective of Social Work that carries through to my every day.
What goals did you set yourself when you finished University and have you stuck to that plan?
I was really intent on gaining experience in frontline work whilst forging a path towards working in policy. Through persistence, luck and a whole lot of privilege I have been able to stick to that 'plan'. Building on experience from my second placement in a family violence service, I gained experience in that field and later entered the public.
What/who motivated you at University?
My wonderful friends I made through the course, and some of the passionate academics who I had the pleasure of learning from. It was really important to me to feel connected with people I studied with, and this degree provided many opportunities to build those relationships (even if in reality that was because of some pretty intense study marathons in the biomed library). And of course my supportive relationships outside of the course.
What advice do you have for current students?
If you have a clear idea of where you want this degree to take you - be assertive and take every opportunity to make connections and learn from others. If you don't have a clear idea of where you want to be, or don't believe in that sort of thing, great! Social Work is such a broad discipline that you're on the right path already. Keep curious.
What would you say is your greatest accomplishment since graduating?
Maintaining a learning culture through my friendships with other graduates.
What does being successful mean to you?
Living a life that is meaningful and errs on the side of positively impacting others.