E V A D N E V A N D E N B E R G
I am nearing the end of a wonderful four year journey as a social work student at the University of Pretoria, a journey that has taken me out of my shell and allowed me to develop into not only a social work professional, but a caring, resilient, and sometimes too sensitive human being.
I am fortunate enough to have been placed at a school that caters for learners with severe intellectual disabilities, as my final year field placement. Every day presents itself with a new learning opportunity, and I believe that I am extremely privileged to have been given the hearts of the most vulnerable to take care of. The profession has already changed me on so many spheres of my life, and I have learnt that nothing in life can be taken for granted.
I chose a Pen because …
… a pen can be found in various colours, shapes, types, and is universal! Just like a pen, all social workers are different and are used as instruments that leave a mark on the lives that we touch. Although our core is a pen, our structures, i.e. specialisations, talents, knowledge, personalities, and origin make us, and the marks we leave, unique.
Being a pen is tricky, as we always have to set the example and be careful not to leave a negative mark, as a pen mark is difficult to erase. We might sometimes not even know that we have “marked” someone, because actions speak louder than words, and then again word spreads like wildfire. If one negative mark is made on an individual, all will know about it. On the opposite side, we also leave life making marks that bring change and hope to those who have been scribbled and scratched on. With some individuals we have to push a bit harder and indent the paper for our mark to be left and eventually noticed, and with others we just glide across the paper, but we leave a lasting mark regardless.
Unfortunately our ink does not last forever, and we sometimes need to be refilled, which I have found to be one of the biggest challenges that social workers face. One cannot only give and not replenish your ink levels, but self-care, proper debriefing, writing, and lots of praying have proven to be very beneficial for my ink levels.
There is however one similarity of a pen that I do not completely agree with. Pens are constantly lost, and easily replaced …
You are not replaceable, and no other pen can leave the mark that you do on the lives of the individuals that you touch. Pens should be taken care of, and be appreciated for their hard work and dedication.