Michelle Fairbrother


Well it’s January already and this is the first opportunity I have had since I completed my studies in July last year, to sit down and write this letter! I have wanted to write this letter for such a long time but in between raising my 3 1/2 year old daughter, working part time, studying part time and falling pregnant with our little boy, a few spare moments just never presented themselves!!!


I want to let you know just how much your support has meant to me over the 2 years that I was studying. I clearly remember the day I called to make an appointment to meet and chat with “someone at the Institute”. I had had this burning desire to study counselling or something similar ever since I can remember, but life with all its complexities just never seemed to present the right time.


Finally I realised one day that life would never be generous enough to present me with the opportunity on a silver platter – it was up to me to MAKE IT HAPPEN! I was terrified and very unsure of myself which is why I felt I had to do my homework before I dived into something that was too challenging for me.


At the risk of sounding ridiculously melodramatic, I have to say that you were my angel Rob (Brisbane’s Student Support Centre manager) – I could not have met a more caring, understanding and patient person. I recall that I did a great deal of rambling when we spoke – I had so much I wanted to ask, and so many fears I need to verbalise. But you were incredibly patient, listened with genuine interest and while you didn’t influence me or push in any way, by the time I left your offices I had already made up my mind – I was going to do this and I was so excited!!


I think the one thing I was most concerned about was that I would be expected to “do it alone” – that once I enrolled, it was all up to me and since I hadn’t studied for more than 12 years it was a very daunting fear. I had also never been a particularly “good
scholar” – studying didn’t come naturally to me, or so I thought. But all the staff at the Institute were fantastic. Cindy in particular was always available for a chat and since she had completed the course herself, I knew that she understood the balancing act that it required.


The tutors, and Zahava in particular, were also very helpful – and their genuine efforts to help and support me, gradually gave me the confidence I needed. As I started receiving my assignments back, assessed as competent, it was a huge boost to my self-esteem and even the inevitable tough assignments were achievable!!


I also believe that because the course was so practical, easy to understand and so interesting, it was very easy to remain motivated. I thoroughly enjoyed the assessments – it was a fantastic opportunity to network with other students who, like myself, were doing a juggling act at home, work and study! And it was also great to see the skills I had learnt put into practice.


It was a wonderful feeling when I finally submitted my last assignment 20 months after I started and I can’t describe the sense of achievement that I experienced. Not only was I excited but everyone at the Institute was just as excited for me!!


All through the course, Rob’s regular letters and phone calls were such a boost to my confidence – thank you so much for taking the time to do that, for recognising in me what I was afraid to believe myself. It meant more than you could know!


Now that I have completed my studies, I find myself very keen to study further – to take on a few majors and explore where I think I may fit in best. Unfortunately having just had my baby son, this dream will have to wait a little longer – but the journey has begun and the groundwork has been laid. There is no turning back now and I am thrilled!! Now when people turn to me for advice, support or just chat (as they always have!) I feel I am much more qualified to help them in a genuine, helpful way!


While I still fret constantly with the nagging thought of “where to from here”, and I still don’t know where or how to move on from this point, I know that I can MAKE IT HAPPEN – after all I’ve proven it to myself:  I’ve done it once before!!


I believe that volunteering is most likely the best place to start but with all my commitments at present, I have to accept my current  limitations and trust that I will be motivated and strong enough to “revisit” my passion when the time is right.


I truly believe that I would not have able to obtain my Diploma, learnt as much as I have, gained my confidence and thrown caution to the wind, if I hadn’t chosen to study with AIPC. I am so pleased that destiny/fate/or sheer determination eventually led me to you and the wonderful staff at the Institute.


There is no doubt that my studies have added a completely new dimension to who I am and I only wish I had taken on the challenge sooner!!


Thank you once again for your encouragement and support.