Reflecting on multiple roles

Following the success of Sussex World Social Work Day 2014 and our appeal for more social workers to be involved in public conversations about what social work is and does, a small number of our students came forward to be involved with our public engagement activities, including Maristelle Preece who contributes her first post below. Maristelle is a second year undergraduate student who wanted to write about student experiences on placement as a way of creating a community of practice for placement students that might be supportive of learning and reflection away from the university.

Up at 6.30am, it’s time to start my day as a professional, when only last night I had been socialising with fellow students.

Placement requires us to identify and behave as professionals, and to adjust from the role of student to practitioner every day.

My weeks consist of constant adaption of roles and responsibilities – University essays and CAF assessments, wanting to stay up with friends but having to wake early, friendships and professional relationships, and university days and training days.

At first, I found it difficult adjusting and making the transition between these roles daily, but this was made easier through my hour long journey to and from placement every day.

My drive to work has become my way of preparing myself for the responsibility and anxiety surrounding new tasks and new things to learn. Whilst my drive home has become my way of making the transition from professional back to student, and gives me time to de-stress and reflect.

This reflection is an integral part of developing personally and professionally, which was learnt in one of our first year modules, IPLD. Admittedly, I was apprehensive about the use of this skill when in practice, but I have found it an essential thing to undertake to organise my thoughts and reactions to my experiences on placement.

Now, in week 11 of second year at university, making the transitions between the student and professional roles isn’t so daunting, as I am now noticing my growth as a professional.

But soon, this juggling of roles will not be necessary, as in just over a year, I will be leaving this student role behind as I embark on my career in Social Work!

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May 7, 2014. Social work education, Social work practice.

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