Introducing Mikhaela

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What are you currently studying?

I am studying a Bachelor of Psychological Science at ACAP (Australian College of Applied Psychology) and I’m currently in my second year. I’ve chosen to study this because I find people interesting and when I was going through a difficult time, it was difficult to find people to talk to. I thought that if I became a psychologist, it would mean that someone like me would have someone to talk to. I can be the person that I wanted someone to be for me. My qualification is going to take 8-10 years to complete. You specialise and complete a medical degree to first begin practicing. l would like to focus on neuropsychology because every time it pops up in subjects, I eat it up! I love that stuff!

How does volunteering at Ardoch further your career goals?

One of the stepping stones that I feel would help me in my psychology career is to start working with kids – so I did. Part of me thinks ‘how the heck do you talk to kids and understand what they’re going through’, so, I think that my role at Ardoch helps me understand their mentality and gives me an insight and understanding of what some children experience in disadvantaged communities.

How do you find time between study and work to volunteer?

Sometimes it can be really, really difficult! I try to set aside the time and say ‘okay, from this time to this time, I will be here, or I will be there’. I can’t think of anything really that would prevent me for missing a day at work or Ardoch. As soon as I get home from volunteering or work I try and chill for half an hour or so, and then get back into the rhythm of study. I’m fortunate that my paid role is part time casual, which works for me. I seem to find time through planning out my schedule and sticking to it, and if I say I’m going to be somewhere, I will be there. I can hopefully apply this when I begin practicing as a psychologist!

Why do you choose to volunteer your time at Ardoch?

It was one of the first things that came up when I searched! I think I was looking for mentoring and Ardoch didn’t require me to be over 21. I feel that Ardoch value life experience as well as professional experience. I wanted something to fill my time and give me meaningful experience. I was really looking for something to build upon.

What advice would you give someone who is currently studying and thinking about volunteering at Ardoch?

I would say to do it. If you want to do it, you will make time for it. Make sure you do your research and understand what Ardoch does in the community. I think I researched Ardoch and sat on it for a while and when I applied I was really happy to hear that I got a placement at the head office. When deciding whether to apply at a big global charity or a smaller Australian charity, I was only concerned with where they help, and how they help. It’s not necessarily about how big the organisation is. Education is the biggest solution for poverty. So, if Ardoch is targeting education in disadvantaged communities, then I think that’s really good!

Ardoch is a children’s education charity focused on improving educational outcomes of children and young people in disadvantaged communities. You can help by signing-up to become avolunteer or by making a donation.