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From school drop out to dreams of uni

From school drop out to dreams of uni

In 2019, at age 15, Mikayla was disengaged from school, and started Certificate II in Career Pathways at Deniliquin TAFE. She proved to be a good student, and completed several units, but withdrew from the course as she was still feeling disinterested in education.

In 2020, aged 16 Mikayla became pregnant and decided it was time to get her life together. She had dropped out of school the year before but now she wanted to pick up her education again.

She enrolled in a Statement of Attainment in Foundation Skills Support at Deniliquin TAFE, completing units in digital technology, writing and managing her learning, in preparation for completing Year 11 and 12 equivalent courses.

Her second child was born in 2022 and she returned to TAFE in 2023, at age 19, completing Certificate III in Pathways to Further Studies in Semester 1 and currently studying Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation in Semester II.

She has been motivated by a desire to learn, to be able to have a good career and provide well for her family. She was inspired by her father, who completed the Year 11 and 12 equivalent courses in 2014- 2015 at the age of 44, and went on to complete another qualification.

Since her first encounter with TAFE, Mikayla has grown in maturity and determination. Her personal circumstances are huge barriers to her learning. She is a single mother, and both her children have health conditions which require extra time and attention and frequent visits to hospital. Because of this Mikayla’s time and opportunity for study is very limited.

She enrolled in TAFE this year in order to improve her life and that of her family. She has long term goals and is very focussed and determined. While frequently being unable to attend classes, she grabs any time that she can to catch up and make sure that her assessments are submitted on time. She actively seeks assistance and advice from her teachers. With the limitations on her time and resources, she was advised by teachers that she may need to extend her courses over longer periods – however, she was resolute and managed to complete her Certificate III within the time frame, achieving very good results.

Adult education has had a very positive impact on her life. Being treated as an adult has developed her confidence in her ability to follow her goals.

Mikayla’s teachers have noticed how much she has matured and say she is one of the most determined students they have come across. She has gone from a student who lacked purpose to one who has clear goals and who is single minded about achieving them. Her self-esteem has increased and she is steadfast in her resolve to be a good role model for her children, and to provide them with the best opportunities in life. Her progress from school drop-out to potential university student has been remarkable, her teachers say.

Mikayla’s plan is to take a gap year and during this time move her family to a larger centre with better facilities for her and her children, where she can also attend university. During this time she will also learn to drive to give her more independence.

She then wishes to undertake a university degree in either Law or Nursing in 2025. She is interested in midwifery, and would particularly like to work in NICU, having experienced first hand the life-saving care her own daughter received as a newborn.