Everyone has a story. Humans of UniSA is a deep dive into the lives of our fellow students to unravel the threads of their personal history, quiet ambitions, and their hopes, worries, and joys. Take a fleeting glance into the vivid lives we pass by each day in the hallways and classrooms of UniSA.
I chose to become a teacher because I want to be that person that my younger self needed and never got. A teacher that not only cares about a child’s education but one that also cares about their mental wellbeing and safety. I hate the thought of a child going through what I went through, and if there is any way to reach out to them and let them know they’re not alone, then I would do everything in my power to do so.
I never enjoyed high school. Whenever adults would say to me ‘Your high school years are the best of your life,’ I would never believe them. My high school years have been the worst years of my life so far.
When I turned sixteen, my mother forced me to leave home and my grandmother thankfully took me under her wing and I have been living with her ever since.
My mother was not a nice person. She was emotionally abusive, and made me feel unloved, alone, and scared nearly every day of my life. I’ve been in awful situations I didn’t know were dangerous up until I told my psychologist and it made her cry. That was when I knew I didn’t have to be alone anymore, and that I was in a safe space to talk about my mental health.
So much pain was inflicted on me at such a young age that I started to inflict pain on not only myself, but others as well and I couldn’t tell you how much I regret that.
I hated the person I was throughout high school. I think I was so angry with my life that I chose to be angry at everyone else. I thought I was a failure, and now I think I’m going to be successful and I’m going to get there in the end. I’m really happy with life now.
Year 12 came around and I wasn’t doing so well. In the end, I didn’t get all my SACE credits and so I didn’t receive the golden ATAR that everyone loves to talk about. I thought my life was over. Fast forward to March 2019, I started foundation studies at UNISA college.
The atmosphere was amazing. Everyone was so kind and generous. I excelled in foundation studies, and because of that I was accepted into my dream degree last September.
I want to show the future generations of this world that absolutely everything is possible, and that you shouldn’t doubt yourself.
I wasn’t the greatest kid and the greatest teenager, I’ve grown up knowing that I can be different. And that I am different now, and that I treat others with so much respect and I am—in my opinion—such a caring person and I just really want to show the world that I, you know, you can be nice and if, even if it takes just a smile at a stranger, and it’ll make their day.
I’ve been through some horrible situations myself, and I’ve always found a way. I’ve found a safe place, someone—a family member to talk to, and yeah. Just open your arms for people that are hurting, and remember that just because someone doesn’t show that they are upset, it doesn’t mean that they’re not upset. You never know what could be happening behind closed doors. Just always be kind.
Now that I’m approaching my twenties, and turning twenty. I think it’s—I think I’m excited and scared. Everyone was scared about the new decade and the New Year but I am more excited. Because you know everyone —well not everyone—all your friends you know, some of your friends are gonna get married, and get jobs, and even have babies!
And I think that’s so exciting. This is a fresh start for me. My past decade has been hell, and my next one I just know it’s gonna’ be great: a new degree; a new life, almost. I’m just really excited and really happy about it. You can never have too much hope, and you just need to realise that things will get better.
I think everything happens for a reason. Because, you know, in high school I was in such a dark place with my mother and with certain situations that I went through, and my circumstances and everything have changed. I believe everything that happened to me had a purpose. And that’s what brought me to be here. I had to mature at a young age, so I think it happened for a reason. I guess I do believe in fate.
Be patient, and things will come. And time does heal. I think anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Just keep trying until you get there because you’re going to get there. Don’t ever give up because I regret, you know, slacking in high school and although I am now where I am, and I am thankful for that, it took a long time to get here.
Photography and interview by Jordan White