I have had the pleasure of attending two residential schools so far in my Bachelor of Human Services degree, majoring in Counselling. I can definitely say that from attending res schools I have come away with a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of not only my degree and the field I want to pursue in the near future, but also my own abilities.
Before the beginning of each res school, my emotions are often mixed between excitement and apprehension because I’m not sure what to expect. I love what I’m studying but attending a res school always brings up the question of whether I’m really fit for the degree, and if I’m able to put into practice what I know theoretically. It can be daunting coming into a res school knowing that it will be challenging, as we are stretched in learning and applying new things.
Coming into a res school, it’s important to remember that you won’t know everything and that that is totally okay. But by the end of the week, you will know a lot more than you did at the start; and that in itself is such a reason to go and to make the most of the experience, despite your nerves. Being challenged is the perfect way to grow and extend your knowledge and abilities. Often, it can feel like being thrown in the deep end but in the most exhilarating way. If you are feeling apprehensive or anxious about your upcoming res school or maybe you’re unsure if you’re in the right field of study, let me share with you three reasons as to why res schools could be your most valuable study experience.
Res schools have been an invaluable experience for me, particularly in how they have pushed me to achieve much more than what I thought I was capable of. Even though at times I feel out of my depth during res schools, I always leave more capable and confident than when I started the week. One time, we were given opportunities during the first and second day of res school to continually break into trios to practice counselling skills as both the counsellor and the client. It was a bit scary going from knowing theory to putting it into practice as a counsellor. Because I’m still in my first year, I didn’t feel equipped to really know how to be a counsellor. Despite my nerves and hesitation, by the end of the week once we had practiced this over and over again in different situations, I felt so much more competent and excited to see the growth I had made. If I hadn’t given the activity a go, I wouldn’t have learned all the things that I did.
I love sharing the res school experience with people who have the same passions that I do, and learning about others’ journeys. Being able to bond with so many others in the same tangible experience shapes us together more than individual study ever could. Res schools for me are a time to come together with other people and experience the breadth and the depth of understanding; to learn, to fall down and pick ourselves up. After meeting new people at res school I’ve been able to keep in contact with them over social media and even have coffee with friends that live near me. Having those friends to stay in contact with is so comforting and reassuring because it reminds me that I’m not alone in struggling with assignments or learning new and difficult things. It’s been such an encouragement during the process of completing assessments, study, and waiting for results.
Each res school covers the content of our studies and provides many opportunities to gain practical experience of the theory that we have learned throughout the semester. Going into res school, you know the content from the semester but having the opportunity to test that out in a practical setting and seeing it in context was so helpful. After reading textbook we had learned ways to speak and ways to act as a counsellor; but actually trying those skills out was nerve wracking and exciting, because knowing something in theory is completely different to actually practising it face-to-face with another person.
Being able to experience the week with our lecturer, who had worked in the field for decades, and then also having a past student, who was practicing in a school after completing the same degree that I am doing, was really cool. It was exciting, encouraging and helpful. I gained more insight as to the different contexts in which my degree can be used and was able to ask questions about the study of the degree, gain tips for assignments, and have another perspective from someone that had come through the degree.
Res school can be daunting and at times exhausting, but it has also been one of the most enjoyable aspects of my degree. It’s an invaluable week to be a part of, and one that stretches and grows the individual and the whole class all at once. I can definitely say that my res school experiences have made me feel so much more confident in my skills and abilities. Each time I finish a res school I feel refreshed, excited, and exhausted (in the best way), because I know I’ve grown more than I thought possible in just a few days.
If you’re unsure of what to expect from your first residential school, there is no need to fear! Find out how you can make the most of your USQ res school experience with these 5 tips.