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Douglas Sharp

Master of Social Work 2004

Graduated: 2004

I was born in Wester Hailes in Edinburgh.  I moved to Dunfermline and was schooled there.  I returned to Edinburgh to study Geology / Geography in 1994.  I broke my leg and couldn’t do field trips so took Psychology as my main subject.  Psychology took me to working in Pizza Express as a waiter, then a manager.  I became dissatisfied with the lack of investment I was giving to others (sounds altruistic but, I now realise, also self-focused).  I applied to study social work and was accepted.

I came to studying the MSW with a want to help others and myself.  We were a very social group of students.  The course was both enjoyable and frustrating, as I anticipated working more and socialising less.  The placements were yin and yang – the first one was hellish as my practice teacher was off the wall, and the second one was nurturing and repaired broken bits of me.  Some of the lecturers were great and others were not so.  When I walk through George Square I have fond visceral memories, but I still resent the elitist attitude of some corners of the University.

I am a social worker in the place I was born and it’s time I moved on.  Through this time I have kept in contact with some of the academic staff, I have been involved in useful and interesting bits of research, and this has been valuable and enjoyable.  I see something new on the horizon, although not sure just what is emerging.

Looking ahead? When you have space to study, enjoy the social as well as the academic; social work is a human endeavour, so resist the standardisation of people by valuing individuality.

Source: own contribution (21.8.2017)