Ola Tony-Obot – BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care / MA Social Work

Ola Tony-Obot – BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care / MA Social Work


My life journey has been something that,
looking back now, I just asked myself how did I do it? My Mum had nine of us, I am
the last and out of them there were eight girls and a boy. So I am the last of the
eight girls. So all of them have developed, none of them
have been to university or anything. They don’t see education as that valuable to
them. So for my Mum, I lost my Dad when I was five years old so there
was nobody to really push me to go. And for me to now say, okay I’m going to go
to school, so my elder ones were looking at me, what is wrong with you?
We didn’t go, we are doing well, why do you want to go? So in my house they call
me a rebel, ‘she’s so stubborn’. ‘If you give her an inch, she will go a mile.’ I’ve gotten married, I’ve had my girls, because my husband knows my story and he says why don’t you go back to
school since that’s what you always wanted to do. I’ve never been to the North East,
I didn’t know anything about Sunderland. But what UK universities, what they do
is they come to my country, Nigeria, Lagos and they have a university fair. They talk about the courses, why don’t
you come and do Health and Social Care? Then they talked about the city by the sea,
oh that looks fantastic to me! I said, okay, why not? And that was
how I came to Sunderland. I don’t know Sunderland before but I’m
happy, I think it’s the best decision I’ve made so far. When I did Health and Social
Care, while I got in, in 2013. I think by 2014, I started working just to
support myself. So I work in care, I work in care home, I work in independent living. I
feel very comfortable to have a good chat with service users, I spend more
time talking with them. I see my side tilting towards the social aspect and
not the medical aspect, so that was why when I finish Health and Social Care,
I decided to go for Social Work because while I was doing Health and Social Care, it’s
opened the world for me, the world of medicine and the world of social care.
And I’ve seen the effect of austerity on social care and the effect of
how medicine is constructed. So with that I think I have a fine balance between
the two and know where I want to be. Then I came here, Together for Children,
for my final placement which is in children and family. Which is where I wanted to be,
and when I was doing my placement here I got straight into this team that I’m in now.
I’m in the Safeguarding Child Protection Team. So I was in that team,
and I’ve gotten so used to taking a family… taking them on from the beginning.
I take them through that journey… putting support in place for them and seeing
their life getting better. I think my placement was to finish in June and then
they advertised you should apply if you wanted to do what they call Assessed and
Supported Year in Employment, ASYE. So I put in for that and I went for the interview
and I got my job in April, before I have finished my placement so… and then I’m here! So I’ve been back home, two
years ago when my Mum passed away. For my Mum to pass away, I was happy in the sense that she saw that I was able to achieve my dreams. And she was quite happy. But I was sad because I didn’t
have enough time to spend with her before she died. So I’m fine here and I’m doing well. Age is no barrier because I started at 39. And the language is no barrier.
Your colour is no barrier. Just that you have focus,
what do you want to achieve? Have that in mind. Then coming to Sunderland. Sunderland is
warm, it is a beautiful place to live The people are excellent
and then for the University as a whole there are fantastic lecturers
there who are there to support students. They want to make sure that you excel. So why don’t you take the opportunity,
come to University of Sunderland. I’ve had the best of time there, and I’m
still going back there and I may still end up being a lecturer there. It’s a
journey for me which has been impacted by a lot of people, even if it’s not
financially from them but moral support is so much. So I don’t see any reason why
you cannot go. Just put it in your mind. Once you are determined and then you say,
this is what I want to do. Don’t let anything stop you, you may have some ups
and downs but that’s just life. But try and focus until you get there.

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