Posts Tagged ‘education’

I am in the process of emailing out links to the thesis to the romance writers and readers who participated in my research. However, I have to do it manually a few at a time. I sent a whole bunch out this morning and if I have time this afternoon and tomorrow I’ll send more. However, with over 700 people who left their email addresses, it’s going to take me a while. I’m not quite 10% done.

For those of you who have had a chance to look, I’d welcome any comments you might have positive or negative of the analysis. Feel free to email me or leave comments on the blog.

I finally collected my testamur from the university of Thursday. It wasn’t in the folder I received on graduation day. Good thing too as they had to adjust a date. My academic transcript covers my whole uni life, starting with Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing (Editing) in which I earned two Dean’s excellence awards (2011 and 2012). I think switched to a Masters in Creative Writing (but believe me first class honours is best for scholarships). And then finally the Phd in Creative writing commencing 2016.

It seems so long ago now.

I don’t feel exceptionally clever for doing all this. My passion for writing drove me and once awakened a passion for learning stuff! I feel a sense of accomplishment and I proved my stamina!

You see, I left school at 15 years old, mid way through the Australian Year 10 or in my time 4th form. I don’t think I knew what a Phd was at that age. There was no encouragement to study, broken home, dysfunctional family, lost teenager looking for love. And life sucked pretty much really at that time. I wanted to go back to school but my itinerant lifestyle meant I couldn’t, nor could I get support from my mum to help me either. Later on in life, I was in NZ and I tried correspondence around age 17 and that was a bit hard. Later again in my early 20s I did my school certificate in NZ part correspondence and part night school. I had babies then and that was when I first had to idea to write. Unfortunately, young kids, feeling like I wasn’t smart enough I gave up that thought. I studied university entrance in NZ and got accredited. That meant I didn’t have to sit exams as my work was good all year. That was correspondence and it was great really. Three kids under five meant I had to be organised. I did maths in the morning because my brain was fresher and then physics in the afternoon. History and English in the evening if I could, around cooking etc. My husband at the time didn’t like me studying at night but I read my history stuff anyway while watching TV with the family.

I moved back to Australia, divorced and studied my higher school certificate (years 11 & 12) in a condensed year. I could have done fewer subjects and got a better score but that was a time limited thing, whereas the full school certificate was mine forever, and with young kids I didn’t know how long it would take me to get into uni. I was offered a place in arts at Uni of Sydney, but I wanted Economics. At this time in my life it was soul searching time, do I move to Canberra or Newcastle and go there or enter arts and try to switch in a year? All my supports at that time were in Bondi, so I went into arts and worked my butt off to get into economics. I did get into economics and I also studied Japanese and Spanish languages as additional subjects.

The point of this recounting of my education is that I wanted this education, I wanted it for reasons both ego stroking and economic reasons. I studied economics to get a job and, hence, a better life for my kids and me. I achieved that, despite setbacks, such as the introduction of HECS in my first year and then a recession when I graduated. No dream jobs available and being an older student not much opportunity at the time. My passion though was for the arts but with my limited time frame and supporting three kids, I didn’t have the luxury to pursue my passions. I had to to turn down honours too, offered because I was pretty good at tax law in the day.

The other unusual thing was I studied for my economics degree with opposition from many family and friends. It’s weird I know but people I loved and trusted tried to talk me out of going to uni. They saw no value in it, thought I would fail, waste my time or whatever. For me, though, study was the key to unlocking my life. I had low self esteem, achieving academically helped with that in many ways, I ended up earning well and putting my education to good use. Although I must say when I worked in the audit office I had imposter syndrome and kept meeting highly intelligent people and wondered what I was doing there. I also had imposter syndrome when I started the Phd. Although I’m told that’s normal.

It wasn’t until I was entering my forties that I thought about what I really wanted to do, which came to me in a traffic jam, and that was to write. And not long after I started writing.

I can’t tell you if the Phd in Creative Writing made me a better writer. That remains to be seen. The two books I published last year were written before I started the Phd. I think I look at the world differently and I’ve certainly been on a journey, life and study and genre over six years.

I will say that I’m satisfied with what I’ve done and how I have clawed my life into a semblance of something it could have been, if things had been different. Now coming up to my 63rd birthday, I feel content. I’m also glad it is done too, but I sense there is more out there in my future. I just need to focus and go for it.

Moral of the story. Go for it? Pursue your dreams. Value yourself.

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