New Beginnings

‘Forgive me Father, it’s been eight weeks since my last post’.

I never intended for there to be such a hiatus.

It’s just that in January I found out my nursing qualifications have been binned.  I worked long and hard for my registration so I wasn’t happy.  It’s a long story but basically, my registration was controlled by NSW but recently there was a change and it was suddenly under Federal control.  With the change came new rules and anyone who hasn’t worked on the wards for a period of three months in the last ten years has had their registration cancelled.

Easter long weekend

Easter long weekend in Canberra

I wondered what it would take to get it back.  A six-week refresher course?  I remember when I was a student nurse and the hospital where I was training would advertise in the paper they were running six-week refresher courses for all those who wanted to return to the profession.  The ex-nurses would undertake the six-week course at the Nurses’ Education Centre on the grounds of the hospital and be paid to do the course.

I don’t think you’ll be surprised to hear that those six-week refresher courses with wages thrown in no longer exist.  They have been replaced with three-year Bachelor of Nursing Degrees – that you pay for.  No credits.  Not one.  No shortcuts either – it’s the full three years or find another career.

Spot the kangaroos at Red Hill in Canberra

Spot the kangaroos at Red Hill in Canberra

So after I digested this news I decided to apply for the three-year degree.  At the university where my daughter is a student!  And after an interview and handing in my faded HSC results that are so old they have been manually typed, I was accepted.

When Drew came home I said, ‘I won’t be around much any more; I’m going to uni’.  He said, ‘What for?’  I said, ‘So you stop asking me to come and work for you’.

‘Oh; well what are you studying?’


‘Aren’t you already a nurse?’

‘Not technically’.

An early morning ferry ride to uni

An early morning ferry ride to uni

The most exciting thing has been getting a student card.  Who knew the benefits!  I’ve been flashing it about everywhere.  It’s invigorating having a student card; makes you feel so much younger.  And the benefits!  I’ve now got a student Opal card giving me half-price public transport all over the city, 20% discount off my gym membership, and on Monday nights I can go to the local cinema for just $6.00.

If only I had time to go to the cinema!

The little guy at the school swimming carnival

The little guy at the school swimming carnival

Being late to apply, I found out I was accepted into the course at 4pm one afternoon and with it came instructions I had to be at orientation the next morning.  From there it’s been a whirlwind of meeting the pre-entry requirements of up-to-date immunisations, obtaining my police record (nothing to brag about there), and completing a first aid course.

Then there were uniform fittings for clinical work, purchasing the textbooks and wondering, ‘What the hell am I doing?’

The little guy has a birthday and I'm so tired we celebrate in a restaurant

The little guy has a birthday and I’m so tired we celebrate in a restaurant

I was so excited about my student card I failed to absorb just how demanding this full-time degree was going to be.  I’m doing five units.  Arabella is doing a combined Arts/Law degree and she only has to do four.  It’s actually quite difficult keeping five subjects under control; I get head-spins keeping track of all the academic writing assessments, speeches, powerpoint presentations, case-studies, reflection papers, pre-reading and on-line quizzes that are due.

I’m now eight weeks into an 11-week semester.  I’m coping…sort of.  I’ve crammed my 17-hours/week of face-to-face teaching into three days and am trying to do another 17-hours of independent study during the rest of the week.

An early morning ferry ride to uni

An early morning ferry ride to uni

Academically, my brain is rusty; it’s like my brain cells packed up and left home long ago.  I even failed the maths exam.  When the tutor walks in with the exam papers and says, ‘it’s really easy; you won’t have any trouble’, and then you go ahead and fail, you do begin to wonder if you have borderline mental retardation.

Except that maths and I have never got along.  We have nothing in common.  And to pass this maths exam you had to get 100%.  That’s not a typo – you had to get 100% to pass.  As I told the lecturer, I have never in my life achieved 100% in a maths exam; probably not even 70%.

A night out with friends traveling to a restaurant by boat

A night out with friends traveling to a restaurant by boat

I spent a whole Sunday studying for the ‘very easy’ maths exam.  And when it was all over I actually thought there was a good chance I’d passed – delusions of grandeur.  When the lecturer handed me back my paper he said, ‘You’re going to kick yourself when you see where you went wrong’.  And so yes, my shins are black and blue.  Because I made errors like writing down the correct answer but failing to write down the unit of measurement.  And so I have to do a repeat performance.  Here comes another Sunday of maths.

And so I’ve been a wee bit distracted from all things blogging but it was not intentional; I was just ignorant of how much work there was going to be in trying to do five subjects all at the same time.

Thank you to all those who have contacted me making sure I’m all right – I’m perfectly fine if you don’t mind the humiliation of failing a ‘very easy’ maths exam.

View from the ferry ride home from uni

Ferry ride home from uni

I’m looking forward to catching up with you all very soon xx


  1. I missed you! Hope you still have time to blog! What a life change for you, though!

  2. Danielle says:

    So glad to hear you are well and on an exciting new (old) path! Wishing you all the best in your studies (you WILL ace that maths exam next time!). I was a ‘mature’ student and can attest to all the hard work, but it is so rewarding 😉

  3. You go girl! Glad to hear all is well, and feel for you regarding maths (worst subject ever!).

  4. All the best, Charlie! Don’t worry about maths… use your fingers like I do 😉

  5. Charlie, what great resilience you are showing. I am full of admiration and wish you well. It’s hard being a student when the brain is rusty but it will get better. Don’t pressure yourself about the blog; every blogger needs to take a break sometimes and this is your time by the sounds of it.

  6. says:

    Doesn’t experience count for anything anymore? Congratulations on your enthusiasm. Did you go, to India by the way? I was looking forward to hearing about your experience s there.

  7. Didn’t you meet your husband in maths? Perhaps that was the problem.

    Similar thing with me in teaching and I have to say I am furious about it. I have taken another approach and thought, stuff them. If they don’t value my 10 years of teaching experience and my experience working in industry and law firms, my Bachelor of Economics, Diploma of Education and Diploma of Law, all achieved via hard slog at the University of Sydney, then they don’t deserve to have the benefit of it to educate high school kids. To make me pay to get back in to the profession, is the ultimate insult, so they can get stuffed. I am doing other things.
    The irony being that had I taught 1 casual day in the last 5 years I would not have to got through all their bureaucratic hoops. It’s just some pen pusher keeping themselves in a job. No credit for having and taking time out looking after kids etc either…….it’s scandalous.

  8. I’ve been wondering how it was all going. I can’t believe you get no credit at all for actually being a nurse – that’s absurd!
    Good luck with the rest of the term and enjoy the break when it comes. Xxx

  9. Good to see you back Charlie! I was worried about you but didn’t want to bother you in case! And how crazy that the qualifications have been cancelled. They’ll be regretting it when they have a nurse shortage.

  10. Oh, my gosh, that is a rigorous schedule when you have a home and family to maintain! I’m proud of you (I let my license lapse decades ago!!). I’ve missed you!!! xx

  11. I had noticed and wondered what was happening with you Charlie but felt it might be private so I didn’t contact you even tho I felt I should. I admire you taking on this challenge. My brain has seized I fear and as for maths! Eek. Good luck.

  12. I have wanted to send you a message on FB for a while but just don’t get around to it. So pleased all is okay and you are braver than me. Studying scares the living daylights out of me! Wishing you all they best with theupcoming months.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  13. So glad you are back and ok! I kept resubscribing only to be told that I already was (I knew that) but I was thinking it was my fault somehow that I was not getting any updates. Whew!

    Crazy system we have in this state but all the best Charlie. Good for you!

  14. Hi Charlie! Wow, good on you! I think it’s excellent you’re back in school. It will take a little bit of time but then you’ll be kicking some arses! If anyone can, you can!
    I didn’t realise you were gone until I came back from being gone! I think I was absent about 8 weeks too!

    Glad to know all is well, except for the maths… But you’ll do fine!!

  15. Oh my Charlie, when you had mentioned you were back at school, I figured it was for something fun and extra, it’s horrible and tragic that the profession has dismissed your qualifications. I couldn’t imagine going back to school now, I’m very proud of you! It feels like your government is trying to reduce the number of nurses in the profession. Where was the nursing lobby while they were rewriting the regs? Our nurses are unionized and the union wouldn’t not allow this type of radical change. I wish you all the best.

  16. —I’ve miss you.
    So happy you are pursuing your nursing degree!
    That “student” card will come in handy, right.
    You must go to the cinema!

    xxx love from MN.

  17. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Oh my gosh. Good luck! At least the nursing parts will be old hat for you (sorry, no offense with the “old” part). 😉 I sympathize on the math thing. I’ve always had a kind of hate-hate relationship with math.

  18. Glad to know everything is fine with you and the family. Wishing you luck with all the extra work that comes with going back. Happy belated birthday to the little guy. 🙂

  19. Well, then, you certainly have an absolutely legitimate reason for not blogging. I am amazed at your tenacity and determination. For the record, I would do poorly on any math test also. It is my greatest academic weakness. No reason for you to apologize or feel bad.

    Good luck as you continue with your studies while also managing a home and family.

  20. Glad to see you post again! I WAS wondering what was happening to you! Never would have thought you were at uni, though. Congrats! Exciting news! Always good to keep up one’s credentials. Oh, and Happy Birthday to Alfie!

  21. Good for you, Charlie! I did check with other bloggers from Oz as to whether all was well. So happy to get confirmation that you are just busy with life. In the past year or so, I have cut back on blogging, just because life has been busy. But I am not even renewing a degree or anything. This will be a fun adventure to have with you, if and when you get the time to share. I wish you the best with everything.

  22. Good for you Charlie, so glad everything is all right, miss your writing and sense of humor.

  23. I have to tell you how much I did miss you! And I was relieved to see you post something on FB recently…just to know you were okay! I am delighted that you’re taking this very ambitious step. It is going to be a lot of work, yes, but the rewards will be many. Just stay in touch often enough for us to know you’re doing well. I missed you….and your family! 🙂

  24. I can’t believe they binned your qualification!! That is beyond belief! You’re very brave for doing it over! I did a Batchelor of Taxation as a mature age student and my brain took a little while to coax into action!
    I did live the feeling of being a “student” and all the perks :p
    Anyway, I’m pleased there was nothing awful keeping you out of the blogging world. I was worried. I know this is blog is your baby!
    Thanks for sharing
    Gourmet Getaways

  25. Yay, you are back! I wonder what you were up to, checked your social media a number of times to see if perhaps I had just fallen off your mailing list, so pleased you are a-okay. Not gonna lie, going back to uni was not what I thought you would be telling us, seriously, when I grow up, I want to be as dedicated, energetic and inspired as you. Far out! Congrats and take advantage of those student discounts too. Sending you all the motivation and smarts I can muster. xoxo

  26. Going back to school made me appreciate some of the stresses on my own students. Of course my study habits were exemplary. (NOT!)

    Good luck on your endeavour.

  27. Oh no! Good luck with everything! I don’t think I could do it. My brain has shrunk, but then, I’m much older than you!!! School in any form is not appealing anymore. Although I’m taking an online photography class. Very different indeed! Welcome back!

  28. Was thinking of you and glad to know you were busy and you and your family are OK. I too am surprised that you are not given any credit for your previous schooling and experiences, that’s so not right. Good luck and wishing you all the best, don’t be too hard on yourself.

  29. Best wishes to you in your new academic adventure! I’m hoping things settle down for you before long as you adjust to this “new normal” period of your life. And, hats off to you for doing this! Looking forward to seeing your blog posts when you’re able to turn your attention to them, but no pressure — priorities first, like family and school!

  30. Charlie – I am honestly standing up and clapping at the moment! This news I did not expect to receive: congratulations and felicitations and you know you’ll make it [glad your daughter well and at uni also!] Look, I am a generation older than you and also doing quite widespread tertiary studies tho’ not with your pressures: you’ll find age an absolutely positive factor – I have never concentrated as easily nor worked with such joy – ’cause now I WANT to!! Boys and parties and having to be seen out on a Saturday night no longer count!!! Big hugs and enjoy above all else!!!!!! [And to those wondering about the ‘no credits’ – when Charlie did nursing and I medicine the whole system was totally different: now nursing is justifiably a uni course . . . darn it, the sisters always knew more than we did anyways 🙂 !!]

  31. Charlie, that’s mental that you have to do the course all over again…seriously mental. On the up side you’ll be nailing any practical work. Prior nurse experience, life experience= awesome nurse. Makes me question my own qualifications…hmmm, probably not enough to actually do anything about it though 🙂

  32. Wow- so very inspiring! My mum went back to university to fulfill an ambition to do a fine arts degree while working as a nurse full time. It took 5 years but she is so proud of herself and what she achieved! I hope you experience this when you complete it! It is a wonderful path to choose.

  33. So glad you’re back, Charlie … I noticed you were missing in action from my Inbox and I’ve missed you! Good luck with the studies, you’re a brave girl!

  34. What a plateful you have! I hope you’re enjoying the challenge even though I imagine you are exhausted. I’m so impressed at what you have taken on 🙂

  35. I’m so pleased to hear from you! I am glad you are alright, although indignant on your behalf that you have to retrain. I also can’t imagine juggling full time study with a family – and to answer your question on my blog, fortunately I finished my PhD a while back and it is only post PhD that I have had time for running, regular blogging, and any sort of a life! I would really struggle to go back to study now so admire you hugely and wish you well for the course (maths especially…) xx

  36. So very sorry for the change in regs. I can only imagine what you’ve even through and what’s ahead for you. Bless you and pray it goes smoothly for you. Best wishes. For you.💜

  37. First off, I am so relieved that you and your family are all okay. I kept checking to see if I had missed a post. Then I got really worried and checked on Facebook and saw that you’d commented all was okay, but still. Second, hurray for you to go back to uni and get your degree. I have had a similar thought about pursuing further education. Though I have a BFA, it is daunting to look at what is required now to further yourself…not as easy as it was a few years ago and quite the time and financial commitment. Good luck with the math exam and everything else. By the way, Alfie looks like he’s grown a foot since the last time you posted! Is that my imagination? 🙂

  38. Oh that was a surprise post! I actually had thought that you were on your travels to india that you had been promoting last year – so much for working that one out (my excuse is a death in the family and travels overseas). I cannot believe that they are making you do that whole 3 years again – that is just crazy but onya for giving it a go – am sure it will get easier as you get into the hang of it – though I am sure you have so many distractions now compared to when you studied just out of school that it must make it harder. Good luck with the course and hope you don’t drop off the blogosphere completely as I always enjoy reading your posts.

  39. Such an exciting adventure!! I would have failed the math exam as well. Glad you are keeping in touch here and there! Good luck on that next exam. 😊

  40. I’m so glad you are back 🙂 I know what you are going through…when I took time off from my pharmacy, the HR terminated me for not working enough in a period of time…now I have to do the training all over to get “rehired”. Good luck to you!

  41. All I can say is YOU ARE AMAZING!!! Well done, maths smaths who cares… You will get it in the end! Liz xx

  42. So glad everything is OK! Very much missed reading your posts. How exciting that you;re throwing yourself headfirst into such a demanding yet satisfying career. I literally said to misses 8 and 10 today that I am so envious of them getting to go to uni (one day, hopefully) as I loved my time at uni. Congrats on your new adventures x

  43. Well done Charlie! It’s not great that you have to do it all over again but amazing that you’re doing it!

  44. Wow that’s an incredible reason for your absence. I can only imagine the baptism of fire you’ve had back at uni. But hurrah for student cards and student discounts!

  45. I wish you all the best on your new path!

  46. I never knew how you managed your blog before you started school and now…time to take some time off darlin for your own sanity! I have missed you, your stories, food and travel, but I’m sure that you’ll have some great stories to tell about being back into school. Looking forward to hearing how things go. Good luck and have fun!

  47. Wow! I’ve missed you, Charlie!! You are incredible and so brave to go back to uni. Keep up the great work and I can’t wait for more funny stories 🙂

  48. Good for you, I’m sure it is hard but so worthwhile. We miss your great stories but will always be in the wings routing you on until you have a wee break to let us know how you are doing.

  49. I can never imagine your brain being in any way lacking Charlie. I hope it settles down a bit for you. You will be on holidays soon I am sure. Uni students always seem to be on holidays.

  50. Studying right along side you sister! It’s crazy!!

  51. I had come looking for you too Charlie – Good luck with all your study. It takes such grit to do it and I completely sympathise with you about the maths exam. I don’t have the maths bone in my head either. I hope all is well with your oldest son.

  52. You are brave, I like that.
    Things have changed a lot and it’s become difficult to do anything in this world but you can do this! i don’t understand why they don’t make a uniform degree all over the world. I was about to study a degree for nurse in Austria. I had done a tourism commerce college with a focus on health and if you do that college only you get a chance to be approved in a higher nurse college, which is a 4 years diploma. The problem with that degree is that its only valid in austria, not in germany not in france. My mother studied nurse in france and couldn’t work in austria as a nurse. I former work colleague of mine studied to become a nurse in slowenia but the degree has no value outside her country, so she ended up as a cleaning girl for hotels.
    At least in Australia you guys seem to have a better diploma system. All the best with your studies, it’s exciting Charlie!

  53. oh my GOSH! I TOO am a nurse, besides a blogger, and I have to say that if I had to face going back to school now at this late date – I would just say “forget it”. So, hat’s off to you. I pray that you beat the tar out of the maths and only ever have to figure out how many 81mg Aspirins equal a 325 mg Aspirin in the future – but we know that won’t be the case. Keep us informed of how its going.

  54. Wow! I just was sitting here doing nothing much and you came to mind and I thought, “I haven’t seen a post from Charlie is ages!” So I checked your page and wow! Best of luck!!

  55. Congratulations on this new adventure and good luck with the rest of the semester! Sounds like an exciting new chapter.

  56. Oh I’m so impressed. I went back to uni to do a post grad journalism course and that was part time. It was a huge amount of work. Good luck and I look forward to hearing your adventures. GG

  57. Yes if you miss the Nursing renewal they bin you

  58. Oh I can just imagine how hard this is going to be (time wise). I did a year back at Uni in 2009 and it nearly killed me. Good luck, but hope to see a bit of cooking along the way. There could be a Uni Food section to your blog? Just thought!

  59. So, you are a nurse too, so am I. So sorry that you have to do that all over again! xxx

    I am an oncology nurse, I was, before I was ill. Hang in there, sweety & rock on! xxx

  60. Kristen says:

    I loved reading this post!!!
    So great to read your getting back into it and sorry to hear 100% in Maths, who gets that? OMGosh……
    I applied to Uni myself a month ago to Study my Masters of Art and was thrilled I was accepted then shocked with the reality. I had the same 10 years quota for any Credit being given but it has been 25 years since graduating. I’m starting semester 2 with Chapter 2 of my life.
    Good Luck xx

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