When I was 15 years old I had two dreams about what I wanted to do with my future. I wanted to study arts at Monash University and to be a journalist.
My family used to drive past Monash's main campus and I would look wide-eyed at the multi-storey buildings and formidable grounds. I'd think
I am going to go there one day.
However, when I finished school, I didn't quite qualify for the more prestigious courses. But a diploma course in professional writing captured my interest. I hoped I would find work where I could use my writing skills.
I was lucky enough when I was allowed to write at my first job. This was thanks to the great marketing team at my job network agency. But this was not the case in later jobs. Like any young worker, particularly one with a disability, I was happy to take opportunities offered even if they weren't my dream job.
Sadly, after several years of working successfully, I found myself unemployed for some time. I decided to apply for a teaching course as this career had always intrigued me. It was very exciting when I was accepted into the course. While I really enjoyed university life and did well academically, I struggled terribly with the classroom placements. This seemed largely due to my disability. Nobody seemed to know how to adapt the teaching demands to my physical limitations.
I faced some challenges because of these limitations. It was difficult to stand for long periods to write on the board. It was hard marshalling children and constantly keeping an eye on them.
An episode that is humorous now, but was unsettling at the time, was when I took my own materials to my first maths lesson. By the end of the lesson the room was strewn with materials like buttons and blocks. It was chaos. The teacher said I had to be careful about the amounts of material I gave each child. I realised how much I still needed to learn to manage the classroom.
It didn't help that the course only offered a few weeks of classroom practice every year. I persisted tenaciously with my study for a few years but finally had to give up on this dream. It became clear the course didn't allow me the time to master the needed skills.
Around this time I was accepted into the arts course at the Monash campus I had dreamed of so long ago. I knew this was something I could do well.
Last year I successfully completed an Honours degree in English. Now this year I have been accepted as a contributor on the DiVine website. In part, I am achieving the second part of my teenage ambition to be a journalist of sorts. Despite all the ups and downs I have been through, it is great to be achieving things I have wanted to do all my life.