My Name is Kevin, I’m a Wakka Wakka man and grew up in Hervey Bay.
It was a typical morning after a typical big night out when I realised there was more I could do with my life.
I wanted to do more for my people and community. To do that I had to improve.
So I spoke to my uni’s Indigenous Support Unit* and enrolled in a degree in social work.
Now I get to study and work with my mob, trying to make a difference.
So go on, think your way and look into studying higher education.
Be the change you want to see.
*Note: each university may refer to their local Indigenous support services in different ways e.g. Indigenous Education Units; Indigenous Support Units; School of Indigenous Australian Studies; Indigenous Institute etc., and may include Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander language in the naming title, as relevant to the local area.
My name is Kevin and I’m studying a Bachelor of Social Work at Queensland University of Technology. I grew up in Hervey Bay, with my mum and my dad and my younger siblings, and I am the first one in my family to go to university and not just my immediate family – my mum, my dad, my siblings, but my entire family – my dad’s brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces and my mum’s brothers, sisters, cousins and… I’m it – the first one to go to university.
What inspired me to study in higher education was the fact that I was working in a particular job for so long and although I’d tried different things in that job, I couldn’t go any further; I couldn’t progress to any higher position and I was calling in sick, I wasn’t pleasant to be around, I was partying a lot, I was having two or three day benders, and I felt like I was stuck in a rut and it got to a point where I just thought, there’s got to be more to life. I needed to challenge myself, I wanted to wake up and feel excited about doing something and my lifestyle at the time wasn’t allowing me to feel that, because I was caught in a rut.
So a turning point for me to study in higher education was the fact that I applied for the police force and I got rejected twice and it was that point in the rejection letter that they said I couldn’t apply again for five years. I knew I couldn’t stay in my current work for another five years working full time so I started to flirt with different ideas and now its four years and I’m about to finish my Bachelor of Social Work and I am so happy that I am doing social work because I know I can do more as a social worker as opposed to a police officer.
The biggest challenge I had to overcome, to come to university, was to start believing in myself and stop with the negative talk. I did ok at high school, academically, I wasn’t the highest achiever but I got decent marks. But I thought that because of those marks it might somehow prevent me from excelling at university. But now here I am, I’ve made the Dean’s List, I get pretty decent marks, I get what I’m studying and at the end of the day I just kept thinking life is too short not to do something that makes me happy and there’s nothing wrong with failing, I’d rather live a life of ‘oh well’s’ than ‘what if’s’ and that’s sort of what’s driven me to be in my fourth year of university.
The people that I turned to, to come to university, was definitely my family. Not a whole lot of people knew that I was coming to university, I didn’t make any statuses about it. I was actually too shame because I thought ‘what if I fail?’ like and drop out a couple of weeks in. So my mum knew, she was a big supporter, my sister and a cousin of mine they were sort of the only people that knew and they supported me right through and even today they still support me and I even say when I talk to them, “We’ve only got a year to go, we’ve only got a semester to go, we’re down to 310 hours” because it really feels like a group of us moving towards this and they’ve been supporting me from day one and they’re definitely the reason why I believed in myself enough to come to university and they definitely kept me going throughout.
Kevin See more of Kevin
Occupation: Social Worker
Kevin’s journey to university started the morning after a late night out, when he awoke with the thought that he could achieve more with his life. After speaking to the local university’s Indigenous Education Unit, Kevin took a giant leap of faith leaving a financially rewarding and secure job to study social work full time. Being the first person in his immediate and extended family to go to university made him feel incredibly nervous yet empowered. So far so good, as Kevin nears the end of his undergraduate degree with plans to do a PhD next. He hasn’t looked back and says convincingly “it’s the best decision of his life”.