Friday, December 04, 2009

Studying and working.

I never thought I'd go to Uni, but thanks to a TAFE teacher who asked me (on the last day of applications) what courses I'd applied for, and then asked me with a shocked expression WHY I hadn't applied for ANYTHING, I ended up applying for and getting accepted into a Uni undergraduate degree.

The degree was in computer programming - can you believe THAT? Well, if you don't know me, maybe you can... Those who do know me are probably still laughing uncontrollably on the floor next to their computers, so let's give them a minute to compose themselves...

All good? Right, where was I?

Ok, so it took me about a week to realise that I was just NEVER going to pass Discrete Maths A, and would struggle with Probability and Stats, and that I'd being doing everyone a favour if I transferred to another course.

Me being me, I couldn't do anything the simple or straightforward way, so not only did I transfer courses, I transferred departments, and instantly became a pain in my Uni's arse.

After several years of failing (due to arrogance and a slack attitude), going part time, and even deferring for six months, the Vice Chancelor signed off on my Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Professional Writing), and heaved a huge sigh of relief that I would no longer darked the hallowed door of his University.

Now, a Bachelor of Arts in Communications is pretty much a birdie degree (you fly through it, but you come out pretty much unqualified to do anything in particular). Sure I could compose a sentence, and could tell you how to communicate clearly interpersonally and in a large organisation, but really there is no such job as a Communicator - well, not one that pays anything...

So, I decided, in order to get a job, I would do a Diploma of Education. I decided to do this at Melbourne Uni because they offered a one year diploma for which a degree in Communications was an acceptible pre-requisite. I thought I might go on to teach writing at Tafe, or somethng like that...

Yes, well, finished the course and realised that to teach writing at Tafe, I would have to formulate a course myself and then "sell" it to the powers that be, and if I got to teach, it would be on a short term contract basis. It sounded like a lot of gain for very little benefit. So, I decided to do a Master of Education instead, because then I'd be able to tutor at Uni, and maybe even lecture one day.

Good plan, in theory.

Having two kids before finishing the Masters and then choosing to be an attachment parent (and, in the early years I was quite zealous about the children needing ME and only ME to care for them 24/7), well, it wasn't condusive to going out to work. Besides, I was going to homeschool them, so then I couldn't really go out to work either.

This is where I tell you that in all the years D and I have been together, he has never had a permanent full-time job. Mostly he's work permanent part-time three days a week, sometimes more for short periods of time if his workplace was busy (seasonal work), sometimes less. We've gotten buy because I receive a non-means tested pension and family allowance payments for the kids.

After the M.Ed. I took five years off studying. I didn't have paid employment during that time either though because I was busy caring for Erik and Luey, and later Bryn as well.

Then I enrolled in a Master of Arts (Creative Writing) in order to pursue my love of writing, possibly get publish and further my ambition of one day doing a Ph.D. I'm still working on that Masters.

But now we really need some more income in this house. Dave has been out of work since April. Despite all my years of study, I don't really qualify to do anything! Being legally blind means there are many jobs I physically cannot do, and many where I can do the work, but the employers just won't employ me.

All the same, this morning I went for an interview to do a Certificate III in Children's Services. A 5 month course which will qualify me to work as a kinder teacher's assistant. The irony of having done 7 years of tertiary education (over the past nearly 20 years) and yet having to do a 5 month certificate in order to get work, has been playing on my mind all day. I could have done this certificate (and nearly did!) 19 years ago!

However, by the middle of next year, I should be eminently employable, and for the first time in 15 years I will be earning an income, however small from working outside the home!

I'm kind of excited! I'm most excited about being in a classroom with other students again!

3 comments:

Michelle said...

Wow what a journey! I just stumbled upon your blog through blogchicks. Did you homeschool? Are you homeschooling?

Nic said...

Wow, sounds very exciting.

belinda said...

Hi Sif,

Since I have no idea where you are in Melbourne this may be totally irrelevant to you but Box Hill Tafe already has a permanent professional writing program already set up. Just in case you are still interesting in the whole teaching writing gig it might be worth an enquiry.

Kind Regards
Belinda

Teenagers and the failing parent...