Hello World,

When I found myself single at the age of 42 and sitting alone in front of the TV every night, I started thinking about what I really wanted to do for the next 40 years or so.  I no longer had the security of a life partner and suddenly I had freedom of choice that I hadn’t had for most of my life. It was as daunting a decision at 42 as it had been at 17 when I finished year 12 and had to choose between university or leaving home.  I left home.

That’s when it hit me, I had a second chance at life; this time I could actually do what I wanted to do, and if I chose to study it could be what I wanted.  It was then I started noticing advertisements for Open Universities on television and it seemed to be divine timing of some sort.  With some help from a student adviser over the phone, I signed up to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree and ended up doing a double major of Literature & Composition; and Communications.  I did it all through the safety of online learning, where my PTSD doesn’t effect anything.  I knew if I had to go on campus it would never happen and I didn’t want anything to stop me. Not this time. Never again.

At first I used it as a distraction from what I saw as the nothingness of my life; when I was studying I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself, I didn’t have time.  I hadn’t studied since I was 17.  That’s a 25 year gap.  It was incredibly difficult to do but the best incentive in the world for me was the negativity I listened to for years; I wanted to prove that I wasn’t stupid, or good for nothing, or a waste of space, or air or effort.  So really, I started studying for spite.

I have many years of memories of belittling behaviour, derision, contempt, lack of respect and absolute subservience to refer to whenever I started to think I wouldn’t make it through my degree.  And there were many times when I thought it was too hard, but I kept reminding myself of why I needed to keep going.  After a while I actually was studying because I wanted to secure a better future for myself, it had nothing to do with spite and nobody else was responsible.

In August this year I went to Brisbane where I walked across the stage and received my degree with other graduates and it actually sunk in.  I did it. Somewhere along the way I forgot to care that I was single, I was too busy studying.  I stopped worrying about paying my bills because I knew I had them covered,  and started worrying about essays and referencing and learning.  It was a lifeline I didn’t think it would be.  I’m so grateful that I have had the opportunity to go to University, even if I have never actually set foot on a campus.  Nothing is impossible if you really want it and are ready to work for it.

It’s a whole new game now, I am a survivor and a university graduate.

Take care, stay safe



About auswrite

I am 48 years old, single and on disability support pension for PTSD; in 2009 I left a long term abusive relationship and started to rebuild my life. In those 4 years I have managed to keep paying off a car loan, pay my rent and through Open Universities have achieved my life-long dream of gaining a degree; I now have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Griffith University and am currently working on a Master of Arts degree through Swinburne University. I am passionate about helping people who find themselves to be victims, survivors or relatives of those suffering from domestic abuse; I truly feel we need to end the silence on domestic violence by helping each other, and each of our voices combined together, can make a difference.

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