Entry: Days like this Tuesday, June 13, 2006

...you know how you have "turning point" days, where you can look back and say, "that is the point when I..."


I do. I have a memory of my first day at university. No, not my current degree, which I'll hopefully be finishing in October. But you don't have another degree, I hear you say. That is correct. Straight out of school, 17 years old and clueless as they come, I enrolled into Newcastle Uni in the Bachelor of Nursing.

I waited around three months, three lovely months of lazing around, not looking for work, just enjoying being not-at-school and doing my artworky stuff and loving it. And I took off on enrolment day, and all was good.

My first day at uni was a disaster.

It took me almost $20 in bus fares, and three buses over a period of about 2 hours to travel the 50km from Cessnock to Newcastle. No student discount for private bus companies, apparently. I remember thinking how much knitting I would get done on the bus; I was at the time working on an aran jumper which I remember frighteningly clearly. Not to mention that I'd better start knitting for money if I was going to be paying this sort of money in bus fares every day.

I didn't know about HECS then. I soon found out. Terror! No one at our high school had told us about HECS. In hindsight I can hardly believe how little information we were given at school about life in general, but to not tell us anything about this huge debt we were going to accrue at university? Hm. Would have been nice to have a little warning, thanks high school year adviser!

Then I was poked full of several needles. Blood tests. Tuberculosis injections. Yay for being a pincushion when you're stressed off your head!

In typical university form, I was timetabled to be in class for every one of the five weekdays, some days for only two hours. Um... four hours travelling time for a two hour class? At $20 a day? My austudy was about $120 a fortnight, and dad was in the process of being retrenched from work. How was I going to afford this?

And then the text book bill. Nursing texts are notoriously expensive, and my texts for the first semester were going to cost me somewhere between $900 and $1,000.

My state of panic rose steadily during the day, and at 4pm or so I hopped the first bus of the three-leg journey home.

Bus number two didn't show, and they only left every hour. When the next scheduled one came along, it turned out I had been on the wrong side of the road anyway, so I missed it too. Almost three hours later, I realised that to add insult to injury, I'd just gotten my period. What?! No public toilets nearby, in desperation I knocked on someone's door to use their toilet. They weren't home, but their young 10 year old daughter was, who very kindly allowed me into her house. I can't imagine what her parents thought if she ever told them. And of course I didn't have any tampons or girly stuff with me, so I scrunched up a big pile of toilet paper and hoped it would hold out for the journey home.

And I emerged on to the street to see the last bus barrelling past me down the road.

Mum drove an hour to come and rescue me, hysterical and tear-drenched that afternoon (well, evening by then) with my toddler sisters squeaking in the back of the kombi.

I decided that I couldn't go to uni.

Dad hit the roof a bit, which was sort of strange; I had no idea it meant anything to him. Mum challenged the decision, only really because she thought that I was making it based on having an awful day.

But really, that day was a huge turning point in my life, because it was the very first big decision I'd ever made for myself. And I stuck to it even though I was opposed. I know that when I have to make a difficult decision, I think of that day, when I made that first life-changing decision on my own, for myself.

And today?

Today, before the day had really even begun, I learned how to say I was wrong, and experienced the enormous relief that came with the admission. And... I took a major step in embracing trust, and faith in people once again. Although they seem to inevitably be very difficult, I am eternally grateful for days like this. Thank you (and you know who you are) x


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Sarah B
June 28, 2006   12:00 PM PDT
Eek! I for got to tell you ftp isn't working at the moment. High level tech guys are working on fixing it. Or so I'm told :-P

I keep getting panicky emails from them so I assume it's true VBG
June 13, 2006   02:13 PM PDT

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