Thomas Wooden

I have found it sometimes takes a bad situation in your life for you to finally work out what you are meant to do. Mine was a marriage breakdown and my experience with the family law system. While the situation was very painful, it also made me realise how strong I was and that I absolutely had to practice law for two reasons. First, it would provide a secure career and income in a rural area and as a single parent with a three and five-year-old, this is a real consideration. The second was the ability to help others through this career.

I think my tenacity is probably my strongest quality and I believe it’s this quality that has seen me do well in my degree (Bachelor of Laws Graduate) so far. That and my ability to network. I hate that word, but you know what I mean, just being myself and chatting with people, as I realise at 40 it's just as much about the marks you get, as the people you involve yourself with. It is also important to get involved in as many things as you can and give back, whether that’s at uni or outside of uni. I have put my hand up for a Telstra mentoring program and joined the law society at Southern Cross University (SCU). I have also been a committee member at my daughter’s kindergarten for two years, volunteer to read at my son’s school and I’m part of the local residents association… and for sanity, I run! I love it and enjoy being part of the SCU running team for the Gold Coast half marathon and the Byron Bay Lighthouse Run.

I think just being myself and working hard and setting goals has also led to me receiving the Far North Coast Law Society Scholarship and getting into Oxford University’s summer school (International Human Rights Law course). I know my goals have seemed ridiculous at times, but my motto is “why not have a big life?” So I’m on my way to Oxford … an unbelievable dream come true, with about 70 other lucky students from around the world. Not that I’m any expert, but I would encourage other students out there with a disability and/or family responsibilities or some other issue (as it seems we all have), to hang in there ….sometimes when things seem at their bleakest things can change dramatically … as a friend said to me (on old Japanese saying) … something along the lines of “if you put the work in and try hard, help will come”.

Angela Powditch graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and a Masters in International Health Management. She is now studying her LLB and juggling this with looking after her three and five year old. View her GoFundMe Oxford campaign.