Hayley on Social Work

Djargurdwurung Land (Cooriemungle, Victoria)
Bachelor of Social Work at Deakin University, Geelong
Social Worker

Hayley’s Journey

Choosing Uni

All honesty, Deakin in Geelong was the closest school to home, and since my sister had been living in Geelong for the last 5 years it made Gelong feel less further away. I was always very anxious about committing to my degree and had a lot of people, including my parents, question if social work was the best option for me. We went to the Open Day at the Waterfront Campus in Geelong and I realised in 30seconds this was the place for me.

Before I went to Uni, I knew I wanted to travel abroad. I ended up going to an information session and learnt about study trips that happened all year round. In the beginning of 2nd year, I saw an ad for a volunteering trip to the Philippines. I ended up getting accepted and went without knowing anyone! And I loved it!

My biggest piece of advice would be to spend a year on campus accommodation. Res is a fantastic place to meet people.

Finding Work

In my final year of my degree, I decided it was time for me to move back to the country. I always sort of knew that it was going to be the place to call home. Because I’d moved back, my last placement was in Colac. A job opportunity came up and I said to my supervisor: ‘Oh, I hope they employ somebody soon, I’ve always wanted to do hospital social work.’

My supervisor turned and said to me, ‘Well, why don’t you apply for the job?’ At the time, I was very out of my depth, but I worked hard and practiced my interview questions and came up with a support plan to show how serious I was about the job. I couldn’t believe I got the call to say I was later successful for the job. And now – in one day – or even one hour – I can go from being with a newborn baby or with their families and friends to doing many other things.

Advice for Succeeding 

Having great relationships with mentors, lecturers and supervisors has definitely helped me. 

I also made sure when I was on placement that I learned as much as I possibly could. It’s really important to show supervisors and colleagues that you want to learn and respect what they do. I always spent the first few days taking in the environment and then after that made sure I learned as much as possible. I didn’t sit back with nothing to do, or wait for people to find me something to do. From the very start even if I was just observing I made sure I was going to learn. 

In short VCE, Gap Year, 4 years at Deakin University and many many part time jobs later….

Rural Impressions

I grew up on a dairy farm – about 20mins from Timboon. Both my parents worked on the farm. Both of my parents also grew up less than 20km from where my home farm is now. And I think that is one of my favourite things about growing up where I did; the history and memories made by my grandparents and parents before me embedded a deep sense of belonging.

I went to a P-12 school and when we started there were 100’s of kids. Coming into Year 12 with the same cohort, numbers had significantly declined. I do remember when you would go to external sporting or academic events, you would feel a sense of ‘smallness’ and difference between the other students. Their uniforms, facilities, equipment, always seemed to be shiny and new. Things are a bit harder living rurally, you have to work a bit harder, plan a little more and really step out of your comfort zone. Living in the country though, has transpired a resilience in me throughout my life. 

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