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Why I chose to study a Bachelor of Social Work

Why I chose to study a Bachelor of Social Work


Denna Healy has a Diploma in Justice & Counselling and has spent several hours volunteering with a number of organisations such as Headspace, Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY), Flourish and more. This has led her to complete tertiary studies in Social Work and continue to develop a passion for social justice. Read all about it below!

Written by Denna Healy

In my mind, learning never truly ends, it is a life-long journey.

Since I started my Social Work degree 3 years ago, I’ve also engaged in the very first Gender Equity course at Chisholm Institute, an Identifying and Responding to Family Violence course at Chisholm Institute, as well as the YALE Lived Experience Transformational Leadership Academy (LET(s)Lead) program, which have all amplified my passion for social justice.

Looking back to life prior to my Social Work degree, I recall completing my Diploma of Counselling and taking a year off study to work, save and travel to South Africa for a 3 week safari trip of a lifetime.

A few weeks after I returned from South Africa, COVID arrived in Australia and that totally changed how I thought the early years of my career would look.

The more I thought about counselling, the more I knew that I wanted more from my career.

I wanted more flexibility; I wanted more options for both me and the people I will be supporting.

I always knew I wanted to help people, ever since I was in my early years of high school, but I could never really envision how.

I began researching Mental Health Nursing, Social Work and Occupational Therapy.

Social Work stood out to me, as did Charles Sturt University as the course was already online and it would be very accessible for me around the rest of my life.

I have completed majority of my subjects and have completed one placement experience. I am currently completing my second placement experience.

A lot of time lately has been dedicated to reflection of what I have learnt, and preparation for what could lie ahead for me in life post-graduation.

Some key passions and experiences I’ve had have included really appreciating being with people where they are at, adopting a whole family lens to situations, taking time to ground and connect with myself, and really learning to trust and tune in to my inner social justice warrior.

Denna Healy, a social justice warrior.

To expand on these a bit further, when I mention really appreciating being with people where they are at, I think of moments where clients have been teary, angry, confused, or silent, and intentionally taking a moment as a practicing Social Work student to just allow a person to sit with their feelings and thoughts, without trying to change or fix anything – which is much easier said than done.

When I mention adopting a whole family lens to situations, I think of moments in my Child Protection placement where at times I’ve opened up conversations with my supervisor and co-workers discussing how challenging it is to only focus on the child since the child is your client, particularly when the system they are so closely ingrained in is family, and hearing from others in the field mentioning that family need to be thought of and considered when planning and implementing action for the child.

Taking time to ground and connect with myself makes me think of the numerous times I’ve journaled, sketched, gardened, sung my heart out to my favourite song, and taken a drive to the beach.

Denna taking a drive to the beach.

These moments for yourself, even if they are only 5 minutes are so important, especially when so much of your time and energy is constantly given to others.

You deserve that time, energy, and care too.

One of my biggest learnings and achievements from my degree, has been really learning to trust and tune in to my inner social justice warrior.

The more I am learning about language, systems, the world, people, and myself, the more I can confidently speak up and speak out, advocating for myself, for others, for change, and to really own the role I am in.

It has been a very empowering transformation for me and one that I feel will continue to evolve as I do throughout my life.

One of Denna’s favourite places; the garden.

A final note from Denna

If there is one key take-away I would like to share, it is to keep having hope for your dreams, allow yourself the freedom and space you need for these dreams to unfold in an authentic way, even if this may look different to what you imagined.

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