Saturday, 6 April 2013

Adventures in Tertiary Education

In January 2004 I decided that it was time for change, that I wanted to do something productive with my life.
I enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Science. 
I studied part time, at night and in between work, I discovered that research and statistics were not for me, that Maslow had a dog and Schroedinger had a cat.
However, 24 months later I gave birth to my beautiful little princess and decided that perhaps being a mummy was more important than a certificate and letters after my name. So I discontinued my degree.

In January 2011 during a manic episode, I thought it to be a splendid idea to recommence study. 
Not so keen on the Social Science degree, I decided I should study what I know, Disability Services. 
I enrolled and was accepted into a Bachelor of Health, Ageing and Community Services.

Now this in itself is not an extraordinary thing for me to have done, I like to fill my mind with new things, the extraordinary part was that for the first semester of my degree I was hospitalised for 3 weeks for treatment of my mental illness. Completing 2 assignments inside a locked hospital ward and still receiving a Pass and a Credit.

Upon discharge, I was advised that the medication I was taking would reduce my ability to concentrate. 
I didn't fully understand how significantly this would impact on my education. 
I could not read, literally. The words swirled like alphabet soup on the pages, it took every fibre of my being to concentrate enough to read a paragraph, comprehending it was a whole other task. Yet I powered on. 
I tried to find journal articles that were available in audio, I swallowed my selfish pride and I asked lecturers for help understanding the material, something I would never have done before, I was so determined that I could and would do this. 

In most part I did it for me, to show myself that I can finish what I begin, that I can make choices that positively affect my life and that no challenge is insurmountable. 
In some ways I did it for my kids, to show them that without struggle and sacrifice there is no success and that it is never too late to change your own destiny
And I would be lying if I didn't say, I did it to make my Dad proud of me. The greatest moment of my graduation day was not shaking the Vice Chancellors hand and saying "Shit Yeah" to him, it was when my Dad gave me an awkward hug, patted me on the back and said "I am proud of you".

My day was also made memorable by the attendance of a special man, he calmed my anxiety, wrangled my children and captured the whole event in beautiful pictures. So blessed to have this man in my life. 

Shout out too, for the beautiful ladies that housed, hugged and loved me during my residential schools, stitch and bitches and knitting camps, your friendship and generosity is infinite and I love you all deeply. 

I struggled, I pushed, I cried, I laughed, I wrote, I read, I believed and I achieved.

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