'My parents wanted me to stay in my “safe job” but I think there’s more to life. I wanted a career, not just a job.'
'I thought I would go even further and study nursing full-time at uni. It was a big step for me, but everyone at TAFE and uni were really supportive and I was able to get into a Bachelor of Nursing course – a long way from serving customers at the chemist.'
For Michelle, school didn't work out so well. She left halfway through Year 12 and went to work in a chemist. But it wasn’t her dream job. 'I hadn't thought my life would turn out like that. I knew I wouldn’t go any further in that job.' She decided she wanted to have a career. That meant making a long-term plan – and the first item on the list was to start studying and get a qualification.
Michelle thought about what she liked doing and what she was good at. She enjoyed looking after people in her job in the pharmacy, so decided to became a childcare worker or a nurse. 'The more I thought about it, the more I believed I could do that,' she says.
But she didn’t know where to start. Michelle's parents hadn't gone to TAFE or university and neither had most of her friends. After quite a bit of hesitation, she finally sat down and figured it out. 'We found a great childcare course at this TAFE pretty close to home. A lot of the information was available online so I was able to find out what I needed to enrol and what to study to get into childcare.'
Michelle worked out that she could afford to study if she kept working at the chemist on weekends and lived at home. After a prep certificate at TAFE, which really helped her focus on studying, she started the childcare course. Then she made the big move to uni to study nursing fulltime. TAFE was a great experience for Michelle, but university was a whole new ball game. She had to move away from home and live on campus. She gets a government loan and a living allowance, and has managed to get a job one day a week at the local chemist.
Living on campus is really fun, Michelle says. She enjoys the companionship:'Whenever any of us are stressed about being away from home or about our workload, we can talk to others who are in the same situation.' There’s a great social life and a good vibe – and so many facilities and support networks in case you need help. Because she hadn't studied some of the subjects she needed, Michelle got some extra one-on-one time from the student learning centre. 'Being away from my family is a challenge, but I know it’s for the best in the long run and I love living with my friends.'
When she decided she wanted to move into nursing at uni, Michelle was able to point to what she had achieved at TAFE and the experience she had gained in her time working. It wasn’t an easy journey, but she is really proud that she was accepted into the uni course and that in just under a year she is going to be working as a nurse.
- After a few years working in the chemist, Michelle decided to get some qualifications. But she wasn't sure where to turn to for advice: her parents hadn't gone on to further education and very few of her friends had.
- Knowing that she wanted to study, Michelle focused on two possible careers – childcare and nursing – and went online to look for information about courses. She enrolled in a great childcare course close to home.
- Once she got her finances sorted out, Michelle did a certificate course, which got her used to study, and then went on to complete a diploma in childcare.
- By the time she moved from TAFE to a Bachelor of Nursing degree course at uni, Michelle was comfortable handling the increased workload and responsibilities the study involved.
- Changing her mind about what she wanted to study was a big step, but one that Michelle knows is the right one. She has followed her passion and is excited about where that will lead her.