Support . Empower . Advocate . Promote

Becoming Me again

Posted: 27th June 2014 by Sarah-Jane summer

Many people may think they can speak up for themselves when making a complaint against any service.

I believed I was able to stand up for myself, until it came to a point when I needed to and couldn’t.

I was at the end of my first year of a Masters Degree in Social Work when I became seriously ill. I followed all policies and procedures to report my illness. Sadly the University did not, resulting in me not being able to finish the course.

I was unwell and frantic as my future career was now in severe jeopardy. I did not know where to turn and did not have the strength to fight the University on my own. I decided to ask the Student Advice Centre for some advice. They allocated me an advocate and she supported me through the whole complaints procedure; often she actually spoke for me when I was too emotionally upset to do so.

I couldn’t believe how much my advocate helped, not just with the complaint but also giving me my confidence back, because no matter how much I knew I was right, being continually told the ‘service’ will never admit it, I wanted to give in and thought, “What’s the point?”. My advocate became my cheering section, empowering me to do more for myself each time we met with the University. ‘Thank you’ seems like such a little phrase to say to this lady, because she helped me to become ‘me’ again.

After my experience with my advocate it caused me to rethink my career path; Social work was gone. However I believed that becoming an advocate would give me more of a chance to help people.

If I can do half of what my advocate did for me all of my troubles will have been worth it.

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