This self-assessment tool is for your personal use only. It is designed to support your thinking critically about your application to the Human Service Work Diploma Program and to make an informed determination of your personal fit with, and readiness for, the Program.
Do not submit your responses to Okanagan College. Your responses will not affect your admission to the Program.
1. PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS
The Human Service Work Diploma program is an intense experience. You will be required to attend classes approximately 18 hours per week. You will be required to complete a variety of reading assignments and various projects outside of class time. Attending college requires a strong commitment, typically including evening and weekend work from start to finish and term to term.
a) What is your ability to access a satisfactory time and place in which to study within a stable living environment. (ideally, this is not a time to be in the midst of renovations, building a new house or moving)?
b) Consider your family responsibilities carefully (number and ages of children, special needs of family members, relationship with your partner, etc). How will you manage such challenges as daycare, children’s illnesses, housekeeping, etc? Note that the time commitment to succeed in this program will significantly exceed your classroom hours.
c) How will you get to and from classes and practicum sites? Many host agencies require that you provide your own reliable transportation to and from various activities as well.
d) Have you considered the financial implications of this two year program? Tuition, textbooks, and other related costs over this time span (including two 8 week practica), plus the reality of possibly trying to work part-time can create significant stress and impede learning. What have you put in place to avoid this financial predicament?
e) Practicum placements will be in the geographic region of whatever campus you attend, i.e., not necessarily in your home community. This may require commuting to your placement. Furthermore, host agencies may require you to work evenings and weekends. Do you anticipate problems with the implications of practicum placement?
f) Some students find the pace of the Human Service Work Program too taxing due to a lack of academic preparedness. In many situations, students are returning to college several years after leaving high school. What steps have you taken to prepare yourself for the academic demands of this program?
2. PERSONAL VALUES AND BELIEFS
Human Service Work is not always the appropriate choice for every student who applies for admission. For some individuals, personal values and beliefs can conflict with those discussed in coursework or expected from those who work in this field. For others, traumatic life experiences, past or present, can hinder progress in the program, suggesting that for some it is not the best time to be entering the program. Please consider the following carefully.
a) Some course information can be distressing, including discussion of physical and sexual abuse of children, elder abuse, spousal abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide and various mental and physical illnesses. Many students will have personal experience with one or more of these challenges. Since course material often includes vivid description and real life examples, students can become ‘triggered’ and emotionally upset. Students will be expected to have worked through their issues before beginning this program. Consider whether you think you have dealt with your issues (if any) to the extent that you can handle your own feelings sufficiently enough to be a responsible and caring support to others.
b) In your personal experiences you have no doubt been in a position where you have had to deal with traumatic and emotional circumstances. How have you learned to deal with these circumstances without being triggered or letting your personal experiences negatively affect your work?
c) You will be expected to participate in various experiential learning and group interaction exercises that include role play, class presentations, sharing life experiences and video-taped sessions. Students often share the impact of their experiences in small groups of classmates and in their journal assignments. Consider why this type of learning will or will not be problematic for you and whether or not you are willing to participate in such exercises.
d) Do you have any restrictions or limitations that may challenge your ability to successfully complete the course work and practicum requirements of this program? This could include physical, mental, personal and/or emotional health problems. Yes __, No __
If you responded “yes”, please describe the measures/supports you currently have in place. Are there additional supports, services, and/or technologies that you will need to assist you while you are in the program?
e) Constructive feedback and evaluation are effective tools and most of us state that we are receptive to hearing this feedback. However, it is not uncommon to experience discomfort and defensiveness. Consider your past experiences with feedback and evaluation and consider your willingness to receive it.
f) Our intent is to provide a safe environment for students to share their personal growth experiences while attending the HSW program. One aspect of a safe environment is for everyone to respect the concept of confidentiality, a critical component of human service work. Therefore, you will be expected to make every effort to keep confidential all personal information shared in the classroom. Do you think you can commit to keeping personal information confidential?
g) Human service work is based on numerous strongly held beliefs and values. These include respecting confidentiality, a belief in people’s right to self-determination, and the respect and acceptance of all people in their diversity including racial, ethnic or cultural diversity, sexual preference, religion/spirituality, family grouping and special needs. Consider how your values may conflict with some of those mentioned above and how you might handle this conflict.
h) Consider this scenario. You are working in a residence for adults with developmental disabilities. On an evening shift, you are working with two colleagues. One decides that the residents will be in bed by 7:30 so he can watch the hockey game. You disagree and look to the other person for support. She turns away to clean up the kitchen so you are unsure where she stands. You speak up in disagreement, and the staff with the plan to put them to bed early jumps all over you. The other staff suddenly agrees with him and they both berate you.
How would you deal with this conflict? What might you suggest to make this a win-win situation for staff and clients?
3. PERSONAL FIT: FINAL REFLECTION
Based on the opportunity for reflection provided by the questions in this document, do you still feel that you are a good “fit” with the Human Service Work Program and for a future in this field?