This is a guest post from the student who has contributed since before her course started. She first wrote here about her pre-course shadowing experiences, her initial impressions after a few months on the course, the start of her first placement and the midpoint of her first placement. Here, we join her at the end of her first year of the Masters.
One Down, One to Go
As I write this, I’ve just received the official results of my first
year on the Social Work Masters course, which is that:
“You have successfully completed your studies this academic year and can progress to the next year of your studies.”
That one short sentence summarises all the various essays, lectures, seminars, placement work and portfolio, and dissertation proposal into a single pass/ fail. I am proud of the pass, I feel I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get it and I hope I’ve done so with a general good grace. I’m also proud of having written academic essays for the first time in my life and having learned to do it well enough to get a pass at masters level.
I think it’s a truism of any kind of training, whether academic or job-based, that you never feel that you get enough feedback. A sentence or two on an essay that took weeks of stress, reading, and planning can seem a bit sparse. It’s not that I even know what feedback I’d want, maybe just a chance to explain why I did the non-optimal thing, or why the references list may look a bit thin. At college it’s particularly odd because we have to give feedback on the courses as well, usually at a point where you’re pleased to have got to the end of the course so will give it a good mark purely for that. Or maybe that’s just me, I think some of my fellow students are far more critical.
Truth is, I have been generally happy with the standard of teaching. I have learned a lot over the past year, and picked up new skills as well. I can’t judge how relevant or useful any of these will be, except that I felt confident in finding appropriate theory books to back up my extended case study on placement and when I started the course I don’t think I would even have known which part of the library to search.
In any case, now is the calm before the storm of the second year, final placement, dissertation, job hunt, and things in general getting more serious. I really have no idea what the job situation will be like when I’m searching properly next year, I just know that I have a few backup ideas in mind and am not planning to put all my eggs in the statutory sector basket.
Some of my cohort are working through the summer ‘vacation’ which is a great opportunity to get more experience. I’m fortunate in that I get more of a break which I am very much appreciating. Next month I plan to spend more time down at the library making a start on scoping out the dissertation. Meanwhile I’m discussing a possible second placement with a placement agency that looks very hopeful (read: it’s perfect, but just need to sort out whether it’s practical or not due to travel issues.)
And hopefully I won’t have forgotten everything from last year when September rolls around.