Sydney Fred: Practicum Experience


What I Have Learned from Practicum

My name is Sydney Fred. I am a 22-year-old female from Plano, Texas. I have lived in Plano my whole life. Growing up here I got used to being around my grandfather’s substance abuse treatment center. That is what got me interested in social work. The only thing I am really passionate about is people; helping people, talking to people, and learning about different people. I knew I wanted to help people once I started interning at my grandfather’s treatment center. That is why I want to do social work. Social workers entire career is based on helping others and getting them the help they need or other resources so they can access what they need. My practicum has definitely reassured me that this is the career I want.

The biggest thing I learned from practicum this year was how to apply the knowledge I have been taught the last two years. In all our classes we learned how to handle certain situations and how treat others in a tone that is not degrading in any way. We have learned all of these skills and what to do in situations, but we had never had the opportunity to put them to use, until practicum.

I absolutely love my practicum agency because it is exactly what I want to do once I graduate. I want to work at a substance abuse treatment center and help those who are struggling with addiction get their lives back on track. The only thing I am passionate about is helping other people. It took me a while for me to realize this is what I am supposed to do, but I am so thankful for the teachers, classmates and information I have learned that showed me this is where I belong.

Like I mentioned earlier, practicum taught me how incorporate the skills and information I have been taught into real life experiences. I have had a much better sense of how to deal with people and how to deal with uncomfortable circumstances. In practicum seminar class, we have discussed how to deal with ethical dilemmas. That has been one of the most helpful things I have learned in regards to my practicum. There are so many ethical dilemmas that happen every day at practicum and it is scary when you have no idea how to handle the situation. For example, there was a girl who I do not necessarily care for, who came into NAIC for a screening. The girl has made it very clear to me that she does not like me, and the feeling is mutual. I was appropriate, polite and made her feel comfortable to be there, instead of making her feel uncomfortable. As much as I do not necessarily care for this girl, it is hard to walk into a substance abuse treatment center and get help. No matter how I feel about her, she needs help and she came to get it. I would never want someone to feel uncomfortable getting the help they need, so I acted professionally and acted like we had never had a disagreement. She had the same attitude as I did, so we both remained professional. In my head I thought, “Of all people to see here, it had to be her.” Then I thought about it and realized how rude I sounded and tried to change my opinion to think “You know, it is really hard coming here and asking for help, so I really respect her for doing that, even though it may be difficult or even embarrassing.” I would never want someone to be embarrassed to ask for life-saving help. I never told anyone that I saw her at NAIC, because that would be a confidentiality break and a violation of HIPPA.

Although that is just one example of an ethical dilemma, there are many more that have happened and I would not know what to do had we not discussed these in seminar. There are still situations that I do not know what to do, but I am slowly figuring it out, the more experience I get. I truly am thankful for the opportunity to have my practicum at NAIC and I cannot wait to see what next semester has in store for me. Even though there will be more ethical dilemmas, I am counting on my classes next semester to prepare me even more for these situations. Especially Dr. Miller who has already helped me so much in understanding what to do in a certain situation.

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