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Social Work Student's Survival Guide


If you've decided to study social work we know you've got your work cut out for you. And whether you're starting your social work journey or already working in the field, it's always a good idea to review tips that will help you have a year of success.

Take a look at the suggestions below and prepare for your best year ever!

  • In order to have the best results possible, you'll first want to determine your values and set goals. However, these should not just be limited to your school or class objectives, but this goal should align with your bigger life vision. Check out this worksheet to help you set SMART goals that align with your deepest values.

  •  You can set yourself up for the most success in your classes by connecting with your lecturers and ensuring that you obtain your course outlines as soon as possible. This way there will be no surprises about your assignments and you'll know what is expected from you early on. 

  • If you don't already practice scheduling, we recommend that you write down your assignments in a planner. While there are many online resources, we suggest you purchase a physical planner from your local book store. You'll be less likely to miss meetings, assignments, and can keep on top of goals weekly!

  • Don't neglect your social life! Joining a club or society is one way of building your network and skill set. Find out if there’s a social work club at your institution and get involved. If there's not one, consider being the catalyst to start one for your school.

  • If you're not already a member, be sure to sign up for membership with JASW. Student members receive a discount on their membership and access to online monthly support supervision sessions from seasoned social workers. You can activate your membership here.

  • If you've never taken a personality test, this is a great time to do so! Knowing your strengths and weaknesses based on your personality will help you to avoid your natural blind-spots that may hinder your progress and help you leverage your strengths and hedge your likelihood of success. You can take your free MBTI here

  • If you've never taken a personality test, this is a great time to do so! Knowing your strengths and weaknesses based on your personality will help you to avoid your natural blind-spots that may hinder your progress and help you leverage your strengths and hedge your likelihood of success. You can take your free MBTI here
  • The Code of Ethics is an integral part of being a social worker. You'll want to keep this guide handy throughout your college tenure and your social work practice. You can download it here.
  • Self-care is paramount for all of us, and especially if you're a social work student. Check out this useful guide to help you mitigate the stresses of your student journey and ensure you show up as your best self. 

  • Whether you're just starting your first semester or you're a final-year student we recommend “How Not To Practice Social Work” by Eva Forde as a must-read! Think of it as Self-Help 101 for the professional helper – a transformational lesson on how the very best and most balanced social workers straddle the thin line between their well being and their clients'.

  • If you want to really boost your chances of success and productivity then you'll want to ensure that you surround yourself with positive, goal-driven people. Research shows that our environments and the people we surround ourselves with have a great impact on our performance and help to determine our success. Check out this article on why the people you surround yourself with are crucial to your success and suggestions on where to find them.

  • Set up a good studying environment. Studies show that your environment has a huge impact on how well you retain information. Here's an article with tips to help you set up an optimal environment to study so that you can reach your educational goals. 


Finally, get to know the social work organizations both locally and internationally. Beyond the Jamaica Association of Social Workers (JASW), the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) is the global body for the profession. The Federation and its national members strive for social justice, human rights and inclusive, sustainable social development through the promotion of social work best practice and engagement in international cooperation. There's also the International Association of Schools of Social Work: the worldwide association of schools of social work, other tertiary level social work educational programmes, and social work educators. The IASSW promotes the development of social work education throughout the world, develops standards to enhance quality of social work education, encourages international exchange, provides forums for sharing social work research and scholarship, and promotes human rights and social development through policy and advocacy activities. And if you're looking for the regional professional association for social work education and social development in the Caribbean, you'll want to check out The Association of Caribbean Social Work Educators.

Have a great school year and remember to practice self care. You can do anything you put your heart and mind to and we look forward to seeing you in the field.

Good Luck!



( 876 866 8637

*  jamaicasocialwork@gmail.com

Jamaica Association of Social Workers

University of the West Indies

Social Welfare Training Centre

Mona, Kingston Jamaica

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