The Big Issue : Edition 448
THE BIG ISSUE 26 DEC 2013 -- 9 JAN 2014 33 EDUCATION STANDS AS the cornerstone of any society. It is one of the most impressive features of humanity. From the time the frst person who used a tool told someone about what they had done, the transference of knowledge has been at the heart of every development. Sharing knowledge has allowed us to construct impressive structures, eradicate diseases and even temporarily depart the planet. None of this would have occurred without readily available education. It is what holds the key to what we achieve now, and what we will achieve in the future. I believe, however, that Australia is being left behind by the rest of the world. Frugal government funding for schools and adult education centres is compromising the nation's future development. This year – 2013 – I headed back to fnally complete my Year 12 studies. I fgured that at least it would give me something to do for the year, and also get some important lines etched onto my resumé. But it was more than that. I had some unfnished business in relation to my schooling, and it was time to banish some of the demons from my head. I embarked on four subjects for my year of study. I chose English and Literature to tweak my writing and Art as a place to release my creativity. As for Psychology, well, I thought it might allow me to 'reverse engineer' in-depth characters in my writing. I slotted into each class better than anticipated, and was soon impressed by the professionalism of the teachers. They provided excellent support and assistance, and certainly knew their stuf. My concerns evaporated as I poured myself into my studies. The Centre for Adult Education, in the middle of Melbourne, is an unreal place to study, with easy access to A Class Act IN JUST ONE YEAR TREVOR BROWN HAS GONE FROM HITTING THE ROAD TO HITTING THE BOOKS -- AND HIS JOURNEY'S NOT OVER YET. everything you need to succeed. They also have support teams at the ready, and relaxing areas to study and do homework. Surprisingly, my results were way higher than I ever expected: the frst few were around 75%, then they went up to 84...86, and hit a 94% for a Psychology SAC (school assessed coursework). Due to these results I started to think that maybe I should consider taking my education further. So I have already taken the frst steps by applying for entry into a Bachelor of Creative Arts degree at La Trobe University. Options I never thought I was in line for have materialised -- all because I returned to complete my VCE studies. What a year it has been. At the start of 2013 I was sleeping in my van on the streets. A great many friends helped me, including one who gave me access to his fat so I could do homework and use his internet. In June, another friend slotted me into a house, and my time on the streets was fnally over. This year has been the best year I have ever had. My folio of work continues to get bigger (thanks, Big Issue, for publishing my articles!); I didn't even have a folio at the start of the year. Opportunities continue to appear over the horizon, so I want to thank everyone who has supported me and allowed me to get to this position. I was recently interviewed by Konrad Marshall from The Age newspaper. He suggested I was "the perfect advertisement for mature-age education". I'm not sure about that, but I certainly believe that anyone considering returning to study should do it, at any age. In the end, self-development is all we really have. Trevor Brown is a regular contributor to The Big Issue. His most recent article, ‘Of the Road’ appeared in Ed#443.