The Associate Diploma in Child StudiesTafe started in mid July. I was so nervous because I was determined to start off in a good group and not shy off into a quiet “square” group. The only way I could do this was to be myself and talk to anyone who was there. What I found the most difficult were the initial getting to know each other classes and talking about our families. I hated saying mum was dead, but at the same time I battled with knowing whether or not I should say it. I envied those in the class who appeared to have “perfect” families. I ended up only stating simple things such as where I lived, where I came from, and that I have a sister. The part about mum came out about one week later quite embarrassingly too. We were all sitting in the Language and literature class and our teacher was reading an excerpt from a book. It was a detailed account of a person sitting by and watching their father die of cancer. Each memory of mum’s death played over and over in my mind, until I had only a vision of mum’s dead body lying on the hospital bed. At this stage I couldn’t bear to listen to any more and I ran out of the classroom sobbing. That was one of a few times that I couldn’t cope well with situations.
Once a week the class divided into groups and we went to different places for prac experience and to gain a knowledge on the area and places around us. The hospital visits (to the maternity ward) for prac, I had expected to be bad but surprisingly I dealt alright with them. The visit to the nursing home took me by surprise though. A good friend by now, Hanna and I walked in being our usual happy self. As soon as we walked in the door the smell of the nursing home hit me. It smelt exactly like a hospital. I tried to be strong and keep going and walking around but it all just got to me, especially seeing the elderly, sickly looking people. They were all images of mum. I walked out very quickly and sat on the steps waiting for everyone to come out. I felt helpless and lonely in situations like these, wanting to be comforted but not knowing how to react. So instead I dealt with it myself so that way I didn’t have to worry about what to say to other’s.
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I settled easily into Tafe, getting to know people and forming friendships. Again I found myself in the main sort of group, being leaders and directing the class. I guess we were the more outgoing people and we had a go at just about anything.There were a couple people who also lived up in the mountains and caught trains to and from Tafe. It was a blessing to have met people who caught the train as well because one and a half hours can get pretty boring. Hanna and Olivia lived further away than I did. We all had quite some fun catching the train together. We’d usually end up singing as loudly as possible all the children’s songs we’d learnt in our music class, or playing games of dare.
Hanna and I developed a closer friendship. We were like the main mouths in the class and stuck together with just about everything. When Olivia wasn’t with us on the train we’d do the crossword puzzles from the That’s Life magazine, munching away on chocolate or one day we demolished a whole box of jatz biscuits and dip. Hanna didn’t know initially about the eating disorder she assumed I was naturally skinny. I wasn’t yet at the stage of looking anorexically skinny. I also ate during this time so there was no way anyone could pick anything. I was rather hoping to put it all behind me and continuing to develop as the person I was without needing the eating disorder. I didn’t need it really. I had acceptance in the class, I developed and formed friendships through Tafe and church, and I was also doing really well at Tafe.