Sunday 22 September 2013


For the second guest post, in a serious of guest posts from women whom I admire I just knew I had to invite Vanisha from Vanisha's Life in Australia. I have been a long admirer of Vanisha and her blog, in some ways our lives have many parallels. Even though Vanisha is young enough to be my daughter, I feel as if I have so much I can learn from her. I just hope one day our lives will converge and we can meet in real time. Make sure you pop over to Vanisha's blog and say hello. 

What Will I Do With My Education

Julie invited me to be part of her Educating Women Series at a moment where my days seem to be consumed by education of the formal variety. I'm 27 years old, and I am currently 12 weeks shy of submitting my doctoral thesis. I have been in university for almost nine years and have attained numerous qualifications. The PhD was something I wanted to do for me - to push myself and because I love nothing more than writing, research and reading. Now, as I come to the end of this journey I am often asked what I'm going to do next.

For the longest time, I thought I was going to be a mum. I figured that in the final year of my PhD I would be beautifully round and pregnant. A few months ago I found out that that it would not be the case. You can read my infertility related posts here

Motherhood was something I was going to do for the next few years. It was something I wanted more than anything. "You're doing a PhD so that you can stay home and have children?" Yes. And No. I'm doing a PhD because I can. And I can have a PhD and stay at home. I'm allowed to choose that. To have a career. Or not. To stay at home. Or not. Or to do both. I just wanted to stay at home.

image via

Now, things are a little different. I'm considering a few things. Blogging full time. I love my blog, I love what I've done with it, the friends I've made and the connections and relationships I've fostered. I'm considering teaching (primary or secondary school) - ie - studying more. To be able teach I'd have to do a Diploma in Education. I'm tossing up ideas.

This "indecision" is not because I don't know who I am or what I want to do. I think it's because I have a strong sense of who I am and have a firm belief that I will excel at things that I am passionate about. And I am passionate about a few things. So there is my dilemma. I know what I'm good at, and I know what I love (though some of the things I really love I'm not really good at...yet).

I will however do two things with my education. I will make a difference in my country, even in a small way. It maybe in the form of a teacher at a school, a mentor, a researcher or perhaps I will take thislittle reading space initiative and turn it into something much bigger. I am determined to make a difference. This is necessary.

The reading space I helped set up

The other thing I will do with my education is more personal, and it is to respect, own and enjoy my right to decide on my path. The education I have had may have been an "opportunity" but I had to make the opportunity work. The entire process is filled with my work, struggles, hopes and joys. I got me to this point - though obviously not on my own - and because of this I will not feel bad or guilty that I may be 'wasting' all this talent or education by deciding to be a blogger or a clown or whatever I decide! I will make a difference in my own way. 

I think it's important not to assume that just because a person is well educated that they seek a career. Some do and some don't and that choice and decision needs to be respected. I understand why people say that I must do certain things because there is no one else - believe me I understand, especially in places like the Pacific. Taking up an academic position or public office is not the only way to contribute. There are people who want these things and I strongly encourage that they continue studying and working towards these goals. But it's just as important to support, or at least respect, those who wish to contribute in other, perhaps more unconventional, ways. My education is a significant part of who I am, but it is not the only part.

Please Note: Images and words are Vanisha's unless otherwise indicated. 


  1. Such a great post...and one I relate to in so many ways.
    I don't have a PhD and nor do I think it is something that I want to obtain but I have two bachelors degrees and (almost) a masters degree...and yet I would happily stay at home and blog! Sometimes I wonder why I spent all that time and money on education if I am not going to "do" anything with it...but most of the time I am happy that no matter what I choose to do, I will be well educated doing it!

    1. Welcome to the bunch of over-educated (is there such a thing?) bloggers!!! I got my first job at 14 and have continued to work and study all my life, yet the happiest I have ever been is these last two years when I have gotten to be a stay at home Mum and a wanna be blogger.

  2. I can relate to so much of this post! In the midst of a little career crisis myself, I find there are so many options and it's a little overwhelming, I guess the nice thing about today's society is that we don't have to commit to something, but I don't think that makes decision making any easier!

    I think you would be a great teacher Vanisha, but I think you would be wonderful at whatever you decide to do, it's the deciding part that's hard!

    I feel the same way about education, I like that when I tell people what I do they know that I am university educated, and I am almost scared about possibly not having that response if I change my course now... But I guess that's my issue and probably wouldn't bother anyone else anyway! So much to think about.

    Zoe xx

  3. Thank you so much for inviting me to be part of this series Julie. I've had a wonderful time reading your education posts and reading Tamika's story. How different all our journeys are. I really look forward to being able to meet you and spend some time talking in person. Thank you so much for your friendship xoxox

  4. It is an honour having you on my blog.

  5. It is curious to note how many people have career crisis and like/want to swap to something completely different. I feel education gives us so many choices and so much advantage when we want to do this

  6. Thanks for sharing this lovely post.
    Can totally relate with the "motherhood and career/aspirations" aspect of a mum.

  7. I think we all can relate to it... Well I can

  8. That's so true. I found out I can't have children but it is still something that factors so much in the decisions I make.

  9. Great post! Very personal and strong. xx

  10. I think life is a continuing education - some formal, most not. I like to have some kind of learning kicking alongside me most of the time. I used to be a very ambitious person until I realised that ambition isn't necessary to have passion and achievement in your life. Now I just do what makes me happy and try to earn a good living from that. It's an everyday joy for me. x

  11. I agree!! I do not ever want to stop learning, but then I am also a very un-ambitious person and love leading a simple life.

  12. I finished my PhD and then had my Dear Boy while my very Lovely Husband was in the final year of his. I'm back working in academia part time (full-time next year) and it still feels like a pretty strange combination to me. There are definitely moments where I want to go back to undergraduate land and pick something new and start the whole process over again.

  13. What area did you study and do your PHd on? If you started again what would you change to?

  14. I looked at creativity - massively broad and intensely personal for those who do it. If I started again, I'm not sure - sometimes I think I'd like to do basic science - biology, chemistry, etc because I missed out on that entirely (didn't do that for the HSC way back when). Other times I'd like to clamber back to a general arts degree and sample more there.


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