Posted on 20 July, 2016

Part 3 Reflections, Success & Moving Forward in Life

The final phase of my studies in the Diploma of Community Services (Financial Counselling) story is an emotional and happy end to my learning journey.

A few months had passed and another year of Christmas and New Year’s had come by, I had time to complete more assessments and have a much needed break from training and travelling back and forward to Cairns. I was able to just relax a bit more and travel out remote for work which at times was difficult because I felt for my colleagues who would do a few weeks at a time with me and be away from their families. Whereas, for myself personally I enjoyed it because I travelled back home for work and got to see my family again and be with them all.

By the time 30th of May 2016 came along I was off again to Cairns but this time it was for the final block of training and Graduation! As I travelled to Cairns I got to reflect on how far I have come because at the beginning of it all I didn’t think I could make it. I kept on thinking about the things I tried to get myself into previously but kept failing myself because I didn’t believe in myself to accomplish what I wanted whether it be with my sports or just education in itself.

As we all gathered for our final block training, we all had mixed emotions but we all assured each other that we would help each other out to get last minute assessments done, and that we did. As I completed everything, I felt very relieved and shouted out loud “Yes, I have done it” as I walked out the door as three other students were completing their work.

What a relief it was just knowing I had completed all the hard work but I still had to rush into the City to buy formal clothes for graduation night. As I got into the City it was quite hard to figure out what I was going to wear but eventually with a bit of assistance from a worker in the store, I was able to get what I wanted and head back to my hotel room and get ready for the huge night ahead. By 5:30pm we all had to meet around the gardens for some photo shoots which were individual and group photos.

The Graduation night included pre drinks at the bar, beer or wine. As everyone gathered upstairs, we all looked our best and the MC’s Eddie and Ian lead the way for us all. With a lot of speeches being heard that night it was finally my turn to get up and make mine. I spoke about the different journey’s we all made and thanked Kate, Marion and Majella for all the support they had given us throughout the training. I also thanked ICAN for the Mentorship Program and everyone else involved for making it possible. Lastly, when I spoke about the Journey we made I acknowledged two other students that couldn’t complete the diploma due to other circumstances.

Overall, the Mentorship Program saw fifteen students graduate and receive the Diploma in Financial Counselling. It reflects the growing number of Indigenous peoples working in the financial counselling and capability sector. Also it was the second national program to be delivered over a 12 month period bringing students from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island backgrounds.

For many of us in the 2015-16 program, having the Diploma qualification has resulted in new career pathways and has equipped us with knowledge and skills to assist our communities and clients through financial counselling. We now have the knowledge to take on new opportunities and build on our success.

Thank you all for reading my story

Patrick Heenan 

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