May Madness

It’s a few minutes before the end of the month and I can just squeeze in a May entry into my blog.

May has been a month of highs and lows.

It started on a low with my Papa passing away which meant a trip down to my home town of Smithton, Tasmania to say farewell to a wonderful man.
It’s always amazing how much more you can learn about a person whom you think you know quite well at a funeral. I found out many stories about Papa that he never would have shared himself – and I admire and love him even more. I will always remember him with fond memories.

May was also the celebration of my 29th (argh) birthday! I have the wonderful priviledge of sharing my birthday with Daniel’s (my boyfriend) father, Peter (although quite a few years apart) 🙂 I had a wonderful day and celebrated it with Daniel cooking me dinner and having a great time together.

May was also a time for celebrating two more birthdays in the Fragar family – Daniel’s aunty Wendy as well as his Grandfather who celebrated his 80th birthday last Saturday. It seems to be a common thing to share birthdays in the Fragar family!

Goodbye to Huy

Left to Right:
Jen Schabel, Heidi Robertson, Amy Cook, Alison Schabel, myself and Huy Tran
at Huy’s farewell BBQ.

Yes, we all managed to cram into the small confined space of the play equipment – the fun part was all getting ourselves out with dignity with many digital cameras in video mode capturing every movement!

Huy, a close friend from Uni days has adventured out of his comfort zone and gone to work in Dubai for a few years. He will be missed by all of us.

Central Queensland University

I just thought I’d write a bit about where I am currently employed. I love and loath getting asked about where I work. I love seeing the puzzled looks on peoples faces as they comprehend how I can be living in Sydney yet working at Central Queensland University.

I had never heard of CQU – Sydney International Campus myself until I got this job. It’s not easy to recognise the actual uni campus when walking down Kent Street unless you were actually looking for it.

In fact, CQU has two campuses on Kent Street – Undergraduate (333 Kent St) and Graduate (400 Kent St). I am working at the Graduate Campus which only opened the week that I started working here. It’s great working in a new building as everything is fresh, clean and new.

Situated in Sydney’s city heart, CQU Sydney International Campus is host to more than 4600 full-fee paying students from many different countries. The Campus is tailored for full-fee paying International students and features personal attention, small tutorials and on-going support for communications and study skills. Australian students may study on a full-fee paying basis.

My role as a Student Advisor within Client Services:
CQU-SIC offers a range of support and counselling services for students.
The Student services team assists students with the following: Support Services:
– Provide information on airport pick-up and accommodation upon arrival in Sydney;

– Conducting orientation programs;
– Offer mentoring system to ensure that all new students have a staff member to contact;

– Work with academic staff to monitor academic performance and provide assistance where necessary;

– Connecting students with the on-campus Learning Skills Unit;

– Connecting students with the on-campus Training, Education and Careers Coaching Services;

– Providing assistance with DIMIA issues including Student Visa Compliance;
– Offering confidential counselling and referral services;

– Offering avenues for Grievance Resolution;

– Referrals from faculty relating to academic issues;

– General Student support.

In shock

Today I feel very far away from my home town of Smithton in NW Tasmania. I’ve just been reading about the fatal car crash near Burnie that happened yesterday morning.

I didn’t personally know any of the girls killed, but was in the same class as Andrew Gourley throughout my schooling at Smithton High School. Andrew was the husband of Bianca, the coach of the basketball team, who was 3 months pregnant with their first child when she died.

I can’t imagine how it would feel to be in the first years of marriage and expecting your first child to get the news that your loved one has been killed. How would life go on? There would be so many questions that go unanswered.

Tragedy such as this that involves people from my home town really make me feel out of place here in NSW – it makes me long to be back in a small country community that strongly supports each other in times of joy and sorrow.

Here in Sydney you could go for days without bumping into anyone you know. You can basically do anything, go anywhere without having to talk to anyone. Exactly the opposite to living in Circular Head. You can’t do anything in a small community without people knowing.

I loved coming up to NSW from Tasmania as I finally could have the freedom to go places and doing things without everyone knowing all about it. But sometimes I miss walking down the street and seeing familiar faces and people saying hello.

In Sydney you can walk down a footpath and people look down, fidget or look the other way just to avoid eye contact so they don’t have to say ‘hi’. Is it just me that thinks that it’s rude? Is it that much of an inconvenience to your day to smile and say ‘hi’?

On days like today I want to be back in my home town and being there for the families and friends that are grieving over their huge loss. I guess I would feel as helpless down there as I do here because there is nothing I could say or do to take their pain away.

February Fever

I have been working at Central Queensland University for four weeks and already I have had time off work with whooping cough. I have had 3 days off work last week and 4 days off this week – not a good way to start at a new job.

I found out this week that I most likely got infected by someone at work as another colleague has also had it in the last 3 weeks.

I have been absolutely drained of energy for the last 2 weeks and thankfully today I am feeling like I’m on the mend. I haven’t been sleeping much at night as my coughing seems to get worse of a night time.

I’ve had a fever and cold plus generally felt unwell. Since I’ve been coughing so much I’m extemely lathargic and have absolutely no energy.

I almost took myself to the hospital one night as I was coughing so much I couldn’t breathe properly. Thankfully though, things settled down and now I’m on the mend again.

Hopefully I’m back at work on Monday in full health!

2006 – a year of new beginnings

My first blog entry ever…

Since the beginning of 2006 my life has changed in so many ways… and i’ve enjoyed every minute of it!

At the end of 2005 I left Blacktown Girls’ High School where I’d been working as a Mathematics teacher since 2001. I loved teaching and especially loved the girls there. I took on Year Advising in 2004 and my 160 girls have just gone into Year 9.

Due to a lot of illness towards the end of last year I made the painful decision to take a year leave without pay and try my hand at some other employment to see if I would enjoy it more.

At the end of the year my friends encouraged me to have a break and get away from it all so I went up to Hallidays Point and joined Alison, Amy & Jenny on their Beach Mission over New Years.

I was so exhausted when I finally stopped after a hectic year that I basically slept the whole time up there. It was good for me to get away and even more wonderful to be around people my own age and not be just on my own in my little house with my dog, Hunnie.

I met many new faces at Hallidays Point, but one stood out more than the rest. His name is Daniel.

We seemed to hit it off right from the start. I don’t really remember much about when I first noticed him, but I do remember that he played the bass guitar, was quite tall, handsome and had a good sense of humour. I also remember that we seemed to end up sitting at the same meal table for most meals.

Anyway, we’ve kept in contact since then and have started on a wonderful adventure of getting to know one another – so far we’ve had a great time together.

Coming back from Hallidays Point threw me back into reality quite quickly – I was now unemployed! I tried not to think about it much and just enjoy a holiday, but it was always in the back of my mind (how am I going to pay my bills after the end of January?)

In the final week of the school holidays I got my act together and sat down at my computer for basically a whole day and looked up as many jobs as I could on,, and heaps of other job sites and submitted my resume online to as many positions as I thought interesting. One problem was I had only had school-based experiences and I was looking for an admin based job.

I was hoping to get a job with Lifechanging Experiences (SISTER2sister project) but decided at the last minute not to apply for the job as I thought I was being a bit keen to take on the role that was advertised.

I applied for a whole lot of jobs online and the next day at 8:30am in the morning I got a phone call from a job agency. Their initial statement was “you have an interesting resume for an admin job”. They were keen to get me in for an interview that day.

Keen and eager in my ‘interview outfit’ I set out on the train into the city – little did I know that it would be the first of many trips.

The interview went well and by the end the agency told me that they thought that I would be perfect for another job going at the same company – a Student Advisor. It sounded like an interesting job and so I expressed interest thinking that I could go for both jobs and more than likely get at least one of them.

The next day I was called up again – this time to have an interview with the company CMS (C-Management Services). This time I had to dress up in a suit – a huge change from my ‘teacher clothes’. I managed to dust off a suit in my cupboard and went into the city yet again.

Time seemed to pass quickly in the interview – I was in there for an hour and I was quite surprisingly calm throughout the whole process. I felt right from the beginning of the interview that this job was made for me. A job where I can use my past experiences as a teacher and Year Advisor but yet have the administration that I have longed to do for a while.