I DID IT!

image from horseshoepets.com

image from horseshoepets.com

How I’ve missed writing for my Blog and writing in general!  Here we are well into 2013 and what an eventful year it has been already.

At the end of November 2012, after endless sleepless nights, hours and hours of studying, hair pulling, tantrums, tears, exasperation, elation, highs and lows, not to mention the physical toll it took on my body, I finished my communications degree. It then wasn’t to mid January 2013 that I found out my fate, which was that I had indeed gained the marks I needed for my final two units to complete my degree and now I am waiting for my official invitation to the graduation in July.  I DID IT! OMG I did it and I’m not quite sure how I did, but I did and the feeling is amazing yet somewhat confusing.

image from deepbox.com

image from deepbox.com

I am not sure if it has hit me yet, the fact I have finished. I mean I know I am no longer opening up text books, responding to discussion forums, writing into the wee hours of the night to complete assignments and studying up for exams – that of course is obvious, yet somewhere within me I’m struggling to adjust. My body is still on the same time clock of the ridiculous hours I kept and the lack of sleep. I’m feeling somewhat lost in not knowing what is next. I am missing my connections with my fellow university students and that feeling of truly accomplishing something.  Its crazy isn’t it! After 3 years of studying fulltime, working 3 jobs, raising a child on my own and all the other bits in between of managing, I should be ecstatic that I now have time to reflect, adjust, catch up and relax and more importantly to be a good mother to my son. I am not saying I wasn’t a good mother, as I know I was, but he was neglected to a degree as any spare time was taken up with studying or working. I did thrive for a balance and I feel in parts I achieved this and I also know deep down the end result was always in the back of our minds, and that there was a reason for all the sacrifices made.

301472_10151109792581553_1711493253_n-1As I take this time to reflect on my recent journey, I am realising what I have discovered and learnt goes way beyond the units I studied in my degree.  I found that there is much more to life than what is put in front of us. Knowledge goes further than the books we read, the papers we skim over or the television shows we watch.  We can become complacent in the mundane things in life, and that is ok, yet there is so much more out there in the big wide world to be exposed to, to absorb, and be exposed to. I truly believe now, that with determination, motivations, discipline, and making sure you surround yourself with wonderful loving people that anything is possible. It could be the smallest of goals or something on a larger scale, yet if it is something that you truly want, then there should not be anything stopping you in achieving it – YOU CAN DO IT!

From the depths of my heart I would publicly like to thank my amazing family, my wonderful friends, my beautiful university friends and to all who have supported me throughout this adventure. Your unconditional love, motivation, encouragement, ears for listening, your spoken words, the countless snuggles you have supplied and for believing in me…

I LOVE YOU and THANK YOU! XO

BANG…the year is off to a start

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 It has been some time since I have last written a post and I am now finding myself in a space to write and share what has been happening in my world of late.

I had all hopes that 2012 was going to be “the year” and enough of the bad and bring on the good. I do not mean or want to sound negative in saying that line, however so far…the year has continued to be challenging. What does surprise me is the personal journey I am on and even though I can be at my all-time low, I still manage (within time), to pick myself up and just get on with it.

At the end of last year as I had expressed in my last post, times were tough financially and I did manage to get through Christmas and the holidays and surprisingly, have now caught up on most of my bills. Mind you, this was achieved by a very minimal social life for moi and budgeting greatly to achieve this, and there is a great feeling knowing I did it. At the same time of dealing with finances, I was studying throughout the Christmas season which is always a killer. When you study via distance, there is no break, no time off to relax and really get away as the pending assignment is always hanging over your head. In particular when you study in semester four which is the festive season, you are also dealing with the body and mind winding down as it is exhausted and requires time to re-coup for the start of the New Year. What I found is I had lost my mojo; my mojo with life, studies and worse, with myself.  During this time of year, I became very ill and almost had a meltdown; well I did have a meltdown and was extremely depressed. I had major digestive issues; in fact I started the year literally having to have treatment to assist this problem. I was under guidance from my God Mother who is a neuropath and another specialist in the area and with some patience; I am slowly getting on top of it. It was as though I was living on adrenalin and I came crashing down big time to an enormous thump.

My work situation has declined in a major way and from working with three people having a stress free job, two have left leaving me to manage the situation, all mind you without being compensated for my efforts and time. I do praise myself for having a high work ethic and strong morals and because of this, I am doing everything within my power to keep the organisation afloat in my region although I am not always acknowledged for it. Yes I get a ‘thank you’ but this can only go so far when the pressure keeps building and the expectations of management keep rising. My motto now for my employers is “I am doing my best and will always endeavour to do my best”. This is a true statement and one I believe in, however it is costing me on an emotional and physical level. I was out of the blue offered the “perfect job “without even looking for it yet sadly, the universe served me a curve ball and what I thought was my light in saviour – didn’t happen. I looked at what could possibly be positive about this scenario and what I discovered is that the situation allowed me to find strength to face my current work situation and actually say no to the acting up role they proposed. I had to put my studies and my son first which both had been affected by the turmoil in my current work place.  In saying that, I am still doing the “acting up” role but now without extra pay so we can see the one winner here…not me.  I am dealing with the situation (for now) and I am aware and grateful knowing it is assisting in paying for a roof over our heads and am allowing the universe for things to come my way – good or bad, we have a choice.

I have distanced myself from friends, my self-esteem sadly is at its lowest and at times, I feel as though I have been a horrible mother due to my lack of patience. I do anything for my boy and he is and always will be my priority and I guess this is something we can thrive on, to pick ourselves up and get on with it. The one thing my son made me promise is that I play with him more as I promised it last year and didn’t fulfil it. So far, I’m doing ok and he isn’t complaining so that is a tick to me. I am still a work in progress, yet I know I am very loved, I am blessed with the most amazing people in my life and I respect them. I have a wonderful family who I adore and my son is the light in my life and the most precious gift I have ever received.

I am not sure just yet, how to get the smile permanently back on my face. I am doing small things like increasing my visits to the gym, eating healthy and keeping my goals in sight so I never lose sight of them. I do believe it is an inner attitude and something I need to face and concur myself. I know I am not alone as so many of us have our bouts of depression and sadness and sometimes there is not a real reason of why it is happening only that it is.  Being a single parent, we do not have that ‘other’ person to talk to as in a partner to share our lives. It is us and our children and this alone can be daunting, sad and frustrating.

image by weheartit.com

Valentine’s Day is just another marketing ploy really and every day, not just 14th February should be about making that special someone knows they are loved, respected and cherished.  Sadly however, due to all the hype, it does make that notion of being ‘single ‘more apparent and I personally felt it this year. I did ask a few of my special little souls in my life (aged, 3, 5, 7 & 10) to be my Valentine with the offering of chocolate in the shape of kisses.  The kids were stoked to receive something naughty and their smiles made a difference. I did get a cup of tea

from my boy (with promoting) brought to me in bed in the morning and then the day progressed like any other normal day. I guess the moral of the story is, we make the most of what we have. Next year could bring something new, something wild and exciting, something full of happiness and possibilities.  The same could be said for next month, next week and even tomorrow. Now I have had my little therapy in expressing all this to you and have given myself the pep talk needed, I shall get on with my day, trying to wear that smile proud and wishing you all the love and light for your next day, next week and so on.

Until next time…

Love, Light and Peace 🙂

How do you do it?

image by jevigar

I am often asked, “How do you do it?” when it comes to my life of studying. To be honest I have no idea. What I do know is that I am managing somehow even if the eyes are heavy and shaded with black and bags have become extra luggage on my face.

I think the idea of doing something like studying while you are a single parent, working, plus dealing with all other challenges of life is daunting and almost an impossible concept. I came to the decision to study after being unemployed for a long time. I felt I was at a roadblock and to be able to move forward, I had to either work fulltime (which was not an option at this stage of my life) or look at alternatives to create a more financial, stable and satisfying life for me and my son. Some of my goals which assisting in the pursuit of studying was to finally see the back of Centrelink, to create a comfortable life and to feel I am able to move forward and be successful in my chosen career.

I had no idea how the life of a student was be lived let alone one who was a single parent and working. Not many of my friends have studied at university level and really the only person close to me who had done something similar was my Mother when I was younger and she too was a single parent. Certain questions I was asking myself before taking on the study was; “how am I going to afford this”, “how am I going to manage my time”, “will I fail as a Mother if I undergo studying at the same time as being a parent and working” to name a few. I had to bite the bullet and live without fear…I enrolled into University.

Research is paramount in finding the right option for you. I found Open Universities Australia (OUA) the best option at the time as this decision allowed me to study via distance, offered flexibility, and I was able to keep working while creating my future. There are other institutions that offer distance learning and may work better for you. I called Centrelink as I am on a Single Parenting Pension to see if there was any aid available which there was although a very small amount. It all helps towards ongoing costs such as text books, printing, Internet usage, stationary and so on.  I was able to gain assistance with the university fees from Fee Help obtainable through Centrelink where they also offer other forms of support for anyone looking at further education and training.

I had the financial side of things covered for now and so began the workings out of how to actually do this while keeping some form of  ‘normality’. I do have to admit I feel and have felt major disadvantages in choosing this path as certain parts of my life

image by weddingbycolour

have suffered.  My mental state at times has been very low and I have to dig deep to rise up and keep the motivation going. My love life has suffered as there really isn’t any time to invest in finding the right person. My weight and health has suffered quite dramatically at times due to the lifestyle and I often find I am suffering severe sleep deprivation.  The other person affected by my choice of studying is my son. I feel my son now understands (I think) why I am doing all this and trust me with my choice to study, yet I know I will never get the times back that I have missed.

I suggest to maintain some form of order and routine, keep a diary or calendar marking it  clearly when assessments are due along with other important date. You defiantly must be strong in saying “NO” to social outings and other distractions when you have a deadlines. Read texts and lecture notes when and where you can.  You can find time to study while traveling on public transport, watching the kids while doing their sports, at the doctors in the waiting,and of course when the kids go to bed. Something I still need to learn and doubt I will before the end of my degree is to get decent night sleeps. I do know this will help to keep the mind crisp and sharp and for the body as a whole to cope with the lifestyle. Maintaining a ‘to do list’ is another way to assist in managing your time and each time you tick something off the list, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and it all helps with the motivation.

My number one tip is to believe YOU can do it and trust in yourself – you have made the right decision.

I strongly encourage anyone considering studying to just do it! 

image by dorsetsearchdogs

I already feel the emotions of pride, satisfaction and delight that I am not only coping with my hectic schedule and somehow managing a reasonable balance but that I am actually getting great grades. I can now see light at the end of the tunnel and I am feeling quite excited about what my future holds. In my opinion, strength is a given and be motivated. Self discipline is paramount also if you are going to succeed at studying and particularly be a good parent while working. You need the strength to get you through when you hit the low points as it can knock you around a lot emotionally.  It is without doubt very important to create networks with people who are in similar positions. I personally use the social media tool Facebook which to me has been a lifesaver and my rock many times. I have made amazing friends who support and believe in me. I am truly blessed to have a fabulous family who think I am incredible along with my darling friends who are so proud of all that I am achieving. Without this support, I don’t think I could do it on my own, yet at the end of the day, it is only us that are going to make it happen…and it will happen.