mature It has taken 26 years, 4 months, 11 days and 26 minutes to be able to tell myself that I am worthy and deserving of my seat here in the lecture theatre at University. At high school I was a poor (both financially and academically) student, mediocre at best. While under-performing academically, I was known by my peers and teachers as worldly and street-smart. As a youthful teenager I was aware of my charm and knew how to use this to my advantage but never felt worthy of academic success.

 “She’s not as bright as her brother, at best she’ll probably make a good secretary.” I overheard my step-father talking about me to my mother (a secretary).

“If she doesn’t work harder in maths she’ll end up a shop-girl or a secretary.” A teacher said to my mother in my parent-teacher interview.

“Well this secretary is paying your salary…” my mother proudly retorted much to the teacher’s embarrassment and my delight.

When I left school I did work as a shop-girl and I loved it! I saved to buy a one-way ticket to see the world and my ‘tertiary education’ was found on the streets of New York, London and Paris. Study and financial stability eventually beckoned and I began what were the first baby-steps of my Higher Education. I enrolled in night school and completed my final outstanding subject for my High School Certificate while working full-time. I went on to complete a Certificate at TAFE. A successful career followed as well as marriage and children.

Last year I tapped (literally – all those essays!) into my neglected creative-self and completed a Diploma in Creative Writing. It has taken years (a load, see above: I even did the maths – my school teacher would be proud) to find the maturity to recognise that I am worthy of a University education. And so, here I am sitting in the lecture theatre with nerves as edgy as a thoroughbred in the starting gate. My journey here may have taken longer than my fellow teenage students, but I sit among them, proud, worthy and deserving.