being heard

As I wrote in my last post, this week I formally withdrew from my naturopathy course. In response to my withdrawal the head of the college in Perth called me to discuss my reasons. She listened to my complaints about doing units I don’t believe in, and about the miscommunication that meant I did 3 units last semester that I was eligible for recognition of prior learning on – a total waste of money, time and energy.

She also listened to me tell her I didn’t want to be a naturopath, that I’d orginally asked to do a herbal medicine (including aromatherapy) and nutritional medicine double degree, but had been convinced to go for naturopathy which covers both herbal medicine and nutritional medicine in much less detail than the specialised degrees with the addition of a couple of units of homoeopathy and the use of homoeopathy in other units. She then offered to take a look at my previous academic records and reassess my eligibility for recognition of prior learning against the course framework for the Bachelors of Health Science in Western Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Medicine. My previous recognition of prior learning assessment had been against the naturopathy framework.

The head of the college is visiting my campus in a couple of weeks where she’ll sit down with me and listen to what I want, see how we can make it work, and whether I want to make it work.

At the very least I’d like to further my Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal Medicine to become a Bachelor of Health Science (Western Herbal Medicine) with some further study, because the reality is that the natural therapies industry is changing and pretty soon an Advanced Diploma may not be enough, the standard is changing to be a degree. Down the track it’d be nice to have the degree to fall back on, should the need arise.

I still doubt I’d pursue a career as a clinic based natural therapist, but that’s just one of several ways to use a natural therapies qualification professionally, though I am interested in writing articles for industry journals and perhaps furthering my training that little bit more to enable me to lecture at natural therapy colleges or supervise student clinics in future.

Anyhow, continuing my studies is back on the table, provided it can be arranged that I can pursue the nutritional and herbal streams while leaving behind the homoeopathy. Time to get negotiating. I’m so glad I got a second opinion on the whole thing, instead of believing that naturopathy is the only option for me…

posted by wildecrafted in journal and have Comment (1)

unschool monday – back to school!

I wagged unschool Monday last week. I can’t remember my excuse, but I’m sure it was a good one!

This week I’m a day late… I’m sure that’ll be a red mark on my report card…

This last week, while the sproggets have been merrily ticking away with their own learnings, I’ve been thinking about my education & I’m going back to school!

When I finished high school I went to uni, I didn’t really want to go to uni after finally escaping 15 years of school, but I went anyway because it’s what my Mum thinks successful people do & I couldn’t really suggest a better alternative at the time. I did the first year of a production & design course majoring in lighting at the WA Academy of Performing Arts. I decided it wasn’t for me. I could see a career full of antisocial work hours & unhealthy takeaway dinners laying ahead of me if I pursued that path. I just wasn’t as passionate about it as I first thought.

My elder sister had discovered aromatherapy when I was still in primary school. She’s 8 years older than me. I remember staying with her at her place in the country when I was 11 or 12 & she had this amazing smelling ceramic pot looking thing with a candle in it. She was vapourising oils. As soon as I could, because I idolised my sister, I also explored the world of aromatherapy. I discovered that I felt pretty passionate about it, so when I reached a cross roads with my first uni course I decided to pursue a career in natural medicine. To be frank, I didn’t want to be at uni at all. I wanted to be young & free, I wanted to have fun! I decided though, that since I couldn’t disappoint my parents & be a drop out without transferring to something else, that I would do a course that I was at least a little bit interested in. I decided to do an Advanced Diploma of Naturopathy.


With only 12 weeks left of my 3 year course I changed to an Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal Medicine because I’d recently had surgery on my hand & couldn’t sit the deep tissue massage exam.

When I graduated, I didn’t feel qualified. Technically I could run a clinic of my own, practically I knew I couldn’t do that well enough to make it financially viable or well enough to feel that I was doing people a good service. I decided to take some time out from natural therapies. I’d been on an amazing journey of self healing through my course & I needed to just sit with it for a bit. What I really needed, after being in formal education for 19 years by that stage was to be young & to have fun! I worked for a while at a chocolate company & a cafe in a surfing town in WA, then I traveled a bit, did some permaculture training, had no real idea who I was or what I wanted so I came “home”. Back to Perth. Shortly after arriving in Perth I had a fling with a friend (Bean) & The Bubble was conceived. That defined my path from then until now, I have been a stay at home parent to one & then two children.

Recently though, the passion I have for natural medicine, particularly herbal medicine & nutritional healing, has been reignited. I want to work as a natural therapist, but I don’t have the confidence…

I didn’t have the confidence when I graduated, so now after 6 years of not actively studying & working in the field I most certainly don’t have the confidence to work as a natural therapist. My solution? I’m going back to school!

I’m going to upgrade my Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal Medicine to a Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy). I’ll still specialise in Western Herbal Medicine, but as a naturopath my clients will be able to access health fund rebates which is apparently good for business…


On one hand it seems ironic to be returning to formal study after embracing unschooling, yet it feels so perfect at the same time. Perfect because this is vocational study, this is study I want to do because I feel so passionate about it, not because I’m being told I have to & not because I’m trying to please someone. I have some life experience under my belt that I just didn’t have then & I have a real desire to learn the things I’m choosing to study, a desire that just wasn’t really there when I first went to college. Back then, I had student fatigue. I didn’t want to be chained to a desk, doing more assignments & I certainly had a bad attitude toward exams. Now, I feel so excited to be returning to study, I’m doing it purely for me & because of that I have the “right” attitude.

Unschool Monday is brought to you by Owlet.

posted by wildecrafted in education,journal and have Comment (1)