I’ve learned a lot about my own values, attitudes and opinions since starting at Edge Hill. I’ve had the opportunity to learn about things I’d never even thought about before. I’m like a different person.
From a young age I knew I wanted to work with children in some way. I started volunteering for Childline when I was 16 and started working on the helpline when I was 17. This gave me a real insight into issues that children can face and I became more and more interested in the safeguarding side of things. We had a social worker ourselves when I was a child and my aunt is a social worker so the idea of studying social work seemed like a good fit for me.
I thought the course would be mainly lectures, but I’ve been surprised at the facilities we have for practising and role-playing what we’ve learnt. I’ve really enjoyed using the Better at Home training facilities, which is a simulated home environment for practising home visits and assessments. It’s very realistic, it actually feels like walking into someone’s house. We worked with real service users on a range of different scenarios – that was such useful preparation to get us ready for our placements.
Working in the Moot Room was scary but such a good experience. It never occurred to me that we would be using the University’s mock courtroom – I thought that was just for Law students. We had the opportunity to role-play all the different court officials and see how a court works. It’s quite an intense atmosphere in there, but as social workers are often called to court to give evidence, it was good to have the chance to see what happens.
For me, the last three years have been all about discovering my independence. Coming to university has really opened my eyes. I went to a very small school with just 20 pupils and I grew up in a kind of bubble. I’d never had to make friends before so I’d never really had to practice any social skills. Learning to cook proper meals, look after myself and budget has been a big learning curve – I didn’t realise how pampered I was before!