It’s my first day at QUT and I feel like I’d been hit by a truck. Not metaphorically, but physically.
Let’s rewind a few weeks. I’m 30 minutes into a 5-hour journey to be with my father as he receives a BCG treatment for his newly diagnosed bladder cancer. Time suddenly slows, I push down on my brake and I close my eyes in reaction to an unexpected impact from behind. A truck has just plummeted into my poor Camry, sending me a car length forward. I was supposed to be home in 5 hours, not laying in a hospital bed, waiting to hear whether or not my spine was broken. It wasn’t, just some bulging discs, inflamed vertebrae and a compromised spinal cord.
Fast forward to icebreakers in my first tutorial where we were asked to name a fun fact about ourselves. I’ve got a good one… I couldn’t sit through a whole lecture for 6 months without having to excuse myself every 30 mins. The pain was unbearable. I wanted to learn and was hungry for knowledge, but my spinal injury, chronic pain and Adjustment disorder from the trauma kept pushing me further away from my potential. How was I supposed to finish this semester, let alone my degree? How was I supposed to sit 4 x 2-hour exams when I knew how negatively my body would react? How was I supposed to hand in completed assignments when the ICU where my family watched my father live out his days, didn’t have internet? Why bother?
This is when I sought the guidance and assistance of the QUT Business School. I was never good at asking for help, but I sure did need it. After 5 minutes of trying to explain my situation through an onslaught of tears, I had the reassurance that everything that could be done would be done to ensure that my pursuit of knowledge would end with a successfully completed semester.
And it did. The empathy, encouragement and support I received from QUT throughout my studies would see me through to a completed degree and the QUT Business School Award for International Business (happy surprise). What I had once seen as an impossible task, I can now look back upon as a fond memory. Throughout my journey, I made incredible connections and met some of the most dynamic educators I’ve ever had the privilege of being taught by. It was these peers, tutors and lecturers who lit a fire within me to fight for my education and to push past any physical and mental boundaries that had been placed upon me. My advice? The only limitations you have, are the ones you’ve conceded to. Ask for help, use your resources, and work hard.