Case study

Social work student — Clare Patrick

Clare is combining the skills from her degree with her passion for writing to start conversations around social work issues

What degree did you study and where?

I did a university certificate in Health and Social Care in 2020 at the University of Hull, I am now completing a BA Honours Degree in Social Work at the University of Hull and expect to be a fully qualified social worker by 2024.

Why did you decide to study to be a social worker?

I wanted to do something positive with my life and make a meaningful difference in the world. Having experienced life myself and not always found it an easy journey, I wanted to use the events of my life to inspire positive change in myself and others.

Tell us about your course

Before I started my degree, I found the role of a social worker to be somewhat of a mystery but having completed my first year as a social work student I can see that this is because the role is incredibly multifaceted. This is reflected in the diversity of the course modules in the first year at university. For example, I have completed modules in law, human development, research, becoming a professional, society, and theory. This learning has provided me with holistic and robust knowledge to prepare me for going out into the real world as a trainee social worker in my second year.

What do you enjoy most about the course?

Learning about the theories, models and methods that underpin the decisions of a social worker has been one of the most enjoyable factors. The learning has provided such valuable insight into enabling me to work more holistically.

Understanding these perspectives has aided my ability to look beyond the surface and comprehend how the unseen factors in people's lives might be influencing their circumstances.

What are the challenges?

One of the most challenging aspects has been delivering presentations. Public speaking is not something that comes naturally to me, and it is a skill I need to work on. Upon learning that delivering a presentation was a part of my graded assessment I felt incredibly anxious. However, the lecturers and my peers were all so incredible. Hearing the words 'feel the fear and do it anyway' spoken by one of my lecturers really inspired me and reminded me that I am in a safe space where it is okay to make mistakes.

Describe social work in three words

Challenging, complex and rewarding.

What are your career ambitions?

My core ambition would be to make a positive contribution to society and use the platform I create to fight for social justice. My own personal journey through life has made me passionate about social work issues like exclusion, societal stigmas and oppression.

Writing has become a real way for me to explore and unpick social work issues. I would love to use my passion for social work, intertwined with my love for writing, to enable me to host honest communication that works to break down social work issues.

What advice would you give to others thinking about studying to become a social worker?

I think that having a real passion for anything you dedicate your life towards is so important, and I advise anyone who is thinking about a career in social work to really engage with and reflect on the reasons as to why they want to become social workers.

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