So… I didn’t get in to Uni.

That was a really hard blow to the ego and the self esteem and put me in a bit of a tailspin as I had decided that I was prepared to busy. I was prepared to be stressed and tired and confused for the next 7 years of my life. I had prepared myself mentally and emotionally to tighten my belt around my calendar and get through it “for the greater good”. Alas, it was not meant to be.

I spoke to the admissions team and just so happened to talk to the woman who had denied my application. I was able to get feedback, and most of it was depressingly positive. My application essay was strong. My work history was strong and relevant. My access and equity statement was compelling. I just didn’t meet the criteria to gain admission. What she meant was my high school certificate was several years out of date (because I was applying as a mature aged student), my entrance exam was out of date, the university units I had previously completed weren’t adequate/didn’t meet the criteria for the degree I’d applied for. The odds were stacked against me.

Now, I’m a proud quitter. I’ve quit so many things in my life, probably to my detriment; And I’m slowly getting better at not quitting but finding alternate routes. It took me a few weeks to get over the disappointment, but I had prepared for this! I had seen it coming. Would I have doubted myself if I didn’t think there was a possibility of failure? I stewed for a bit, then tried to find work-arounds. Then, as I sat in my terribly disappointing luke-warm bath, it occurred to me. My whole job is explaining to young people that University is not the only option. There are other methods of gaining qualifications and perfectly acceptable pathways in to different or better careers.

I jumped out of the bath in an almost “Eureka!” like moment and opened my laptop. I emailed a contact of mine at the Tafe near my house and got to work exploring my options. Sure enough – they delivered a Diploma I wanted, in my area, for relatively cheap, during the hours I could attend, and I was eligible for entry. I sat the entrance requirement exam and blew the highest score out of the water.

Now all I have to do is find time within my work week to be able to go in with my ID and enroll. The course starts in July and as far as I’m aware, it only goes 6 to 12 months, part time during the evenings, one to two nights a week. Which means I can continue to work full time, continue to gain an education, and I’ll still have most of my free time to do with it as I please.

Finding work-arounds to issues is something that makes a massive difference to my mental health. Instead of wallowing in despair and giving in to the shame spiral, it allows a way out of the darkness and back in to productivity and positivity. It also gets the brain firing and keeps me busy. I encourage everyone who is a natural quitter like me to attempt to find work-arounds. Ask yourself “What am I missing? What’s another option? What path haven’t I explored yet? How will that path loop me back around to where I want to be? Can I choose the road less traveled?”

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