Monday, December 22, 2014

Part 2: Stay-at-home mum returns to study as a mature aged student!

In part 1, Melissa spent time with her career counsellor.  After those meetings, she reflected quietly, and thought long and deeply about what we'd discussed as well as about which options best supported her values, her finances as well as the time she had available. She decided that further study, although challenging, would be right for her.

Melissa begins classes in Criminal Justice at TAFE!
"I was so, so scared that first day. I found where I had to go, took a seat and tried to be invisible. I felt so out of it and so different to everyone else that I felt sick; it was horrible. But we started with a meet and greet game which broke the ice. It was funny! In the afternoon the teacher got us  moving around which was good, because it broke up the little cliques that had started forming.

The students were chatty and inclusive, they were young, helpful and supportive. It was amazing!

I discovered that I was a thorough researcher and the other students really appreciated that, and enjoyed working in a group with me which was an unexpected surprise! They had things to teach me and I had things to teach them. It was fantastic and I loved it all!

At 42 I wasn’t one of them, but I was included.  I felt like a woman with a brain and not just a mum. I was so excited to be studying something I loved."

... and describes the experience of further study:
It was like someone had opened a door in the small, comfortable house I was very familiar with. But even though I knew the house very well, and had lived in it for many years, I’d never noticed a little door hidden in one of the walls.

I opened this door which had been hidden, and it was extraordinary! Beyond the door I found a mansion – a whole rich, amazing area with so many incredible rooms that I’d had no idea were there. It was wonderful, and it was welcoming me.”

Melissa isn’t the first person to describe this amazing sense of wonder and tearful joy when they realise that further education is something they can not only do, but embrace wholeheartedly. It opens a whole new world of possibilities and the joy is almost overwhelming. 

But back to her description:
“I felt important, valued and engaged. Our society needs to encourage all sorts of people to retrain and use their skills. I studied with a diverse group which made debates interesting - lots of passionate people argued and had to explain their point of view clearly.  They had their opinions challenged and changed by someone with a broader or different experience. It was great!”

"I had to learn to hold my tongue and not jump in with an opinion too quickly, I had to listen and try to work out where a different opinion comes from. As a parent my perspective was valued, and because I’d read widely I was able to enrich a lot of discussions. The young students were respectful which I hadn’t expected.”

and assignments …
“My first assignment was given that first day! I had to do a powerpoint presentation. I had no idea what to do or where to start. The bloke next to me knew all about them which terrified me. I went home and googled them – I watched a YouTube tutorial and worked out how to do one, then I had to learn about the topic and put the two things together!  I got a HD (high distinction) on that first assignment – it was like a wholesome drug and I wanted more HD’s! I loved putting it all together and seeing the result. IT WAS GREAT!!

I’d wanted to work in law enforcement, or in the courts with welfare agencies. I’d think of one thing and it’d open more doors. I’d love to have gone on and done criminology, but it was just too expensive.

I quickly realised there weren’t openings in the police force after the change of government and changes to funding. There were so many who’d lost their jobs or been redeployed that I didn’t have a chance.

Job hunting
After graduating, I spent the next 12 months applying for jobs and going for interviews. It’s hard when you don’t even get email acknowledgement after you’ve submitted a complex job application that’s taken hours to do. It’s soul destroying to apply for job after job and hear nothing at all, but after all that study, it was really nice to spend time with my family again!

I kept wondering what else I could do to get a job. I was getting desperate and began to wonder if I could possibly create a business myself using my new skills and my previous work experience.

I itemised my skills and thought long and hard about my transferable skills. I began looking at job trends in the US, and what new kinds of job markets were opening up there. I figured if it was early stage there it’d come in here pretty soon. I read about personal concierge which gave me a term that I could research further.

In Part 3, Melissa puts everything together and creates a small business from scratch.



Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue and Melissa - fascinating to read .. and part 3 sounds as though it will be amazing: good for you Melissa.

I think I've found the fun in learning through my blog - and that was really because my mother and my father's BIL needed my visits and care in their final years - and they were both very intelligent people ... so I was able to talk to them, and research and write subjects I found interesting for my blog ...

Cheers and will look forward to part 3 .. Happy Christmas and the run up to the seasonal time - Hilary

Sue Travers said...

Hilary, spending time with intelligent older relatives can be a blessing, though there are challenges as you well know. The calmer pace allows us to explore their interests in a different way - and learn from them anew and blogging is a wonderful way to share what we've researched!

EvalinaMaria said...

Can't wait to read part 3. It's fascinating!

Sue Travers said...

Thankyou for your lovely, positive comment EvalinaMaria :-)