Name: Bethany Castle
Dreams of: being a psychologist
2020 was a year of unexpected change, and as 2021 begins, life as I know it is changing again. I’m moving to the city, to Adelaide, and taking my first steps into university.
I’ll be left to my own devices with no more than my savings and my belongings. I know that I should expect some harsh life lessons. But despite the fear I have, I am determined to tackle this chapter head-on. After receiving my Year 12 results, I am eagerly waiting for offers from universities and I’m confident that I will be able to enter the course I want.
This week I am in the process of finding accommodation in Adelaide and trying to navigate getting some financial assistance from the government. As I start this new chapter of my life, money is lingering in the back of my mind. Not only the practical day-to-day of paying rent, buying textbooks, food and whatever else; I’m hyper aware of the cost of a university degree itself.
Losing my casual job back in March means I have had less time to prepare for my new life financially, and I feel like that places me at a disadvantage. I also feel slightly guilty for seeking Centrelink assistance, as I want to be self-sufficient and truly independent once I leave home.
On top of this, I plan to go into a masters course with the goal of becoming a fully qualified psychologist – meaning I have to study for six years. This will leave me in a substantial amount of debt, and I feel apprehensive whenever I consider how long it will take for me to repay these loans.
The cost of my psychology studies will actually go down with the changes in university fees, which is lucky for me. It is a bit of a relief. But that being said, I still feel disappointed that humanities and social sciences courses are to become more costly – that the time needed to repay student debts will double for other students starting out with me.
I’m a little resentful about the fee spike in humanities-based courses. Just a few months ago I was eager to study political journalism, an area which will see an increase in fees. I had also considered studying creative writing and drama at university before choosing psychology. The fee change was not the determining factor or the main reason for changing career paths – personal issues and changes in my life caused my change of heart. Despite this, it was an aspect I was forced to consider. I spent time comparing course fees and trying to estimate how long it would take me to repay my student loans, which consequently generated more fear regarding my future financial stability.
It seems like a whole group of emerging creative leaders are being undermined by our society. As I touched on in my last diary entry, I am an artistic person. I write and play music, I create artworks, I perform spoken word, I act in theatre productions. I live and breathe creativity. But when I look around me I see a very blatant devaluing of the arts and those in it, exemplified by making qualifications more expensive. As a creative person, it feels like my talents and passions are less valued by the government and more importantly, our society. It makes me feel like my talents are disposable and not worthy.
We need a thriving arts industry during adverse times like now. The arts have been of great benefit to me, as an escape from the ever-changing world, an emotional outlet – they have allowed me to form new hobbies that helped me grow. I know that despite rising barriers, young people will still passionately pursue creative careers. Creative souls who are torn between society’s expectations during Covid and their own passions should be encouraged to strive for what they want, and should not feel undervalued or unappreciated.
I will be continuing my passions while studying psychology this year, but due to the lack of support and security society provides the creative sector, I have come to the unfortunate realisation that my passions are going to have to be no more than hobbies.
Right now, I’m still not 100% certain of where I will be studying, so I have created multiple plans, which can at times be confusing and disorientating. Nothing is concrete. I am feeling a lot of unrest and stress as the big move draws closer.
However, I know that once I move, I will have a new independence. I am incredibly excited to start my new life, and I am eager to become a functioning member of society.