"There are so many ways that [the Master of Social Work] has helped me prepare for such work in the future, including my two placement experiences in child protection. Working with people and young people in a meaningful way truly inspires me and motivates me."
I was working in finance in London following graduating from my undergrad in Economics/Finance in 2013. I eagerly wanted to change careers into something that involved working with people in a more impactful way. I ended up working over two consecutive summers in the US at a summer camp for disadvantaged teens, and loved it, and it led me to social work.
At the time, I investigated a number of different postgraduate courses in social work and the University of Melbourne course stood out for the subjects that it offered – they all sounded really inspiring and like a broad selection overall. I ended up moving from London to Melbourne so that I could study this the Master of Social Work at Melbourne!
I think the teaching staff have been really great overall, and I’ve learnt so much from them and the experience they’ve had in social work.
The biggest challenge was navigating the move to online learning because of COVID-19. It wasn’t easy, but I feel as though I’ve developed a lot of resilience and flexibility in doing this course due to the changing nature of learning.
Overall, the staff were very supportive with us, providing extensions when we needed them and checking in with how we were managing things, always making sure we had self-care plans in place.
I’ve definitely gained huge amounts from my peer relationships that I’ve formed with fellow students. These connections have been a massive support throughout the course – I don’t think I could have gotten through this course and managed the impact of COVID on our learning without them!
I’ve loved the diversity of subjects, I’ve really appreciated the teaching staff and am grateful for the connections I’ve had through placements. My first placement was with SNAICC and I’m about to commence my second placement through Berry Street, which I think will be an amazing learning experience.
My research placement with SNAICC was incredibly informative, I learned a great deal about child protection and the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders in out-of-home care in Australia, and what SNAICC are working on to address this.
I’ve also been a part of the mentoring program which has connected me with a mentor in Queensland who has a great deal of experience and has been a great support thus far.
I’m excited to be working with youth and young people in the future and see that as being my next step in social work. I loved the camp structure when I worked in the US and would love to work in similar environments using outdoor adventure programs in therapeutic ways.
There are so many ways that this course has helped me prepare for such work in the future, including my two placement experiences in child protection. Working with people and young people in a meaningful way truly inspires me and motivates me. I don’t think I can do work that isn’t meaningful as a career – I’ve definitely found my place!
My advice to future students is to make the most of the teaching staff while you’re studying this course. They have a wealth of experience and knowledge in the area and are incredibly willing to help out and support you. Social work is a care-focused field and that care is truly felt within the course so don’t be afraid to reach out and make full use of it!