My Story – Lavena

Hello, my name is Lavena and I am a proud Bigambul, Ewamian and Kukatji women. I am a high school graduate of 2019 from Shailer Park State High School and now a Third-year student at Queensland University of Technology, studying a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology. My life is all in place and things are looking positive and going smooth however this always wasn’t the case. 

4 year ago, when I met Craig, I wasn’t the best version of myself. I was struggling mentally and physically. I felt like I had so much pressure on my back that it was affecting my every day activities. I hated going to school, I hated staying at school, it was a big effort for me to get ready let alone stay at school for the whole day. I struggled to time manage my assignments nor if I had a bad moment with a certain teacher, I would put zero to miminual effort in towards an assignment or even the whole subject. But most importantly the biggest thing I struggled with was my family. I pushed my parents and relatives away and thought I could handle everything myself. I broke a good bond with my parents because I took all my emotions and feelings out on them and it got to the point where we just didn’t want to be around each other at all.

My goal since I started high school, was that I am going to be the first in my family to graduate and be the first to make it into a tertiary education. I was going to make my parents proud, my grandparents prouder and my younger brothers and cousins look up to me. I always said to myself that no one was going to get in my way of me achieving this, however I was the person who got in the way.

Within year 12, I was doing all OP subjects with the intent to get an OP at the end of the year. I put so much stress and pressure on to this one little number. This one math exam I had failed but I didn’t think much of it because I could always get the grades up within the other exams. However, one day the head math teacher pulled me into his office and gave me piece of paper and said sign this, I read the paper and it was to go down to a lower maths class which ultimately meant I had to drop from OP and couldn’t sit the QCAA test to get that one number I had been wanting so bad.

I let my emotional side break out and the teacher had tried to calm me down. But they didn’t get it, they didn’t understand how much that one number meant to me, they didn’t understand that being the first one in the family to study a tertiary education was so important to me. From that moment I did not want to continue school, I was in a very low point and said I am dropping out from school.

And then my guidance counsellor got Craig from Gunya Meta to come in and meet me – We than had a massive yarn. I told him everything and anything, I didn’t feel any judgement and he really understood me.

A couple days later, I had a call from Craig. He told me that he found another way to apply to university and that a lady from The Queensland University of Technology wanted to meet me.  That was the first day in a while where I felt like I was going to get back on track and achieve my goals.

Craig had pushed me to get my attendance up and to get up and just go to school. He encouraged me to put effort into my assignments, he inspirited me to keep going with my paintings, but most importantly he helped fix my bond with my parents, he helped me realise that they are just only trying to help because at the end of the day they are my number one supporters.

Craig went above and beyond to make my dreams of being the first to graduate high school and the first to make it into a tertiary education and for the I am forever grateful, and he is doing wonders within his job field and everyone deserves a mentor like Craig.

Gunya Meta