Anyone who knows me and my sister would tell you she was the studious one. I dropped out of high school while she got 99.5% on her HSC UAI, a scholarship to uni and completed a double degree and later her CPA. She always worked really hard and did really well. I was always jealous of her, thinking she was the smart one.
I was a high school dropout who barely scraped by. I hated studying, homework or any work. I liked the creative subjects and mostly lunch time. I never really admired how much work she put in to get the grades she did. I had difficulty concentrating for long periods of time. Well for any periods of time. School was hard. The social side of things also made things harder because I was more focused on trying to fit in rather than concentrate on class.
After I dropped out at 16 I did a chef’s course. I loved cooking and really enjoyed the practical side of the course but I didn’t do great in either the prac or the theory. I just wasn’t a student.
I did a director’s course and passed but not with flying colours and no with confidence about my future in film making.
I tried mini courses in French, drawing, writing etc and passed because everyone passed but nothing to write or draw home about.
I did a UPC at 21 – university preparation course in Psychology for a year twice a week to make up for not having an HSC. I got a credit even though I had a mental break down towards the end.
I did a hairdressing course but managed another break down and never finished it.
When I was 22 I did a childcare course at TAFE. I freaked out on my first day and had a full blown panic attack. Mum raced to save the day and negotiated with a great supervising teacher that I would do the course over a year part time instead of full time for 6 months and that I could have little breaks if I felt overwhelmed.
I got my first ever distinction. It felt good. I enjoyed the course and thought maybe I was ready for Uni. Ha.
At 23, Uni was a whirlwind of essays as long as your leg, tutorials with these teens that talk like they swallowed a textbook, lectures filled with hundreds of kids and anxiety and more reading than I have ever done in my life. It was so full on and I went back into old habits of thinking I was too dumb for this and panicking because deep down I knew I couldn’t do this. There was a part of my psych class that required me to do an experiment and the one I picked happened to be for inducing anxiety, wish they had told me that first because I would have told them there is no induction necessary. I freaked and spiralled and after 6 weeks of hell I quit.
After uni I focused solely on work and staying well.
After many years working with little kids I decided to study again.
Can’t say I’m not persistent.
I did a Youth Work course and knew early on that it wasn’t the path I wanted to follow but completed the course and stored the knowledge in my brain for future use. I went back to work in childcare.
I adored working with kids with disabilities and did a little online refresher childcare course. It was great, I watched little mini tutorials and answered some easy questions on what I had learnt and passed without a second glance. This made me feel that maybe I could study online, maybe I had the discipline we all doubted I had.
Stress caused my left ovary to twist and become septic and needed to be removed. When that happened my love of kids was also removed. I continued working with kids for a few years but never felt that bond. Kids became a sore spot and then became nothing. I knew I couldn’t stay in this profession.
I searched for a long time for my next move. As you have just read I have tried so many things. But what did I love? What would I be good at? What could I really see myself doing?
And then it hit – counselling. I love helping people, I’m great at listening and giving sound advice/guidance and I would make one heck of a counsellor.
I found a great online course, there are a few seminars down in Sydney but mostly it’s reading workbooks and filling in assessments then sending them off to be marked.
Not only am I killing it. I love it. I jump out of bed in the morning, get my bottle of water, open the curtains, prep my notes and spreadsheet of progress, I get my stopwatch app open and I sit down and read or fill in questions. I am interested and engaged. I really enjoy the context of what I am reading and learning and even the studying itself.
I’ve had 2 push backs but come back fighting and managed to get Competents in all 8 out of the 18 workbooks I have. After this I will have a diploma. Me a diploma. WTF? No one can ever call me dumb again. Most importantly I can’t call myself dumb again.
And the oddest part of me becoming a study girl? I’m considering doing the Bachelor’s Degree. Not for the credit or extra pay but because I want to learn. Weird right?
21 months later…..
So this high school dropout, who spent my youth being bullied and called stupid so many times I believed it; can no longer believe it!
I have a UPC in Psychology
I have a cert 2 in cookery
I have a cert 3 in children’s services
I have a cert 4 in Youth Work
And I now have a DIPLOMA in Counselling.
Not dumb. Not stupid. And not done. Contemplating doing a Bachelor of Psychology next.
I keep saying “no-one can ever call me dumb again” and people reply “no-one calls you dumb” but I did, I called myself dumb.
But not anymore.
Study girl out! Or am I?