Ms Aggie Ling has always known that she is not suited for a deskbound job; she wants a job where she can meet people from all walks of life and be able to help them with their problems.
When she first heard about social work over a conversation with a church senior after the release of her A-level results in 2016, she was convinced social work would be her calling — it ticked all the boxes she was looking for in a career.
Her parents, however, had doubts whether social work would make a good career choice. They would rather she choose a more conventional route perceived to offer greater job security.
The MOH Holdings Healthcare Merit Award helped her out of her predicament.
“I was overjoyed and thankful when I first received the news over the phone,” she says. The award not only enabled her to be free from financial burdens, but also promised her a fulfilling and stable job, giving her the peace of mind to pursue her dream.
“My path to social work wouldn’t have started without this scholarship,” she adds.
Ms Ling is graduating in four to five months with a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Social Work. For her final year project, the 22-year-old is working with Happy People Helping People to spread awareness about the non-profit organisation that befriends and helps elderly cardboard collectors.
The modules she takes in school, such as casework management, counselling therapy and advocacy, have equipped her with a solid foundation to become a social work practitioner, while field placements, such as with the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s Child Protective Service (CPS), have given her a clearer idea about the profession.
“I gained a macro perspective of social work,” she says. “I see the importance of being a voice to the voiceless, and of collaboration between agencies to help the disadvantaged in our society.”
Ms Ling has also worked at a social enterprise floral studio and volunteered with children with special needs through equine-assisted therapy.
She feels these enriching experiences will make her a better medical social worker when she joins the National University Hospital after graduation.
As an intern in CPS, Ms Ling learnt to navigate among different stakeholders in case management — a useful skill for medical social work, which involves working with patients, their families and other medical, nursing and allied health professionals.
She adds: “Seeking medical treatment can make you feel very vulnerable. I look forward to journeying with my clients and their families during this period and I hope to make a difference in their medical battles.”