This happened a few months ago now… but after 4 years studying at NMIT… I now have a Bachelor of Arts & Media degree!

I started this journey as a newly separated mother of two young children, struggling with her self-worth on a sole parent benefit. Having worked my whole adult life before having children, I found myself in a life situation I had not planned for, or ever expected.

I have always been creative; with a very logical brain, this had never let me pursue art as a legitimate income source up to that point. But, with my future now completely wide open and totally different from how I had planned, I decided to think outside the box.

So in 2014 I walked into NMIT and got an information brochure for the creative industries.

Having my children made me realise that if I was going to be spending much of my time away from them working, then it needed to be something that I enjoyed and appreciated… or at least, didn’t hate! Before this, I had never had a job which I considered a career; they were just a means to an end. But, in my mid 30’s, I thought that just maybe… I could start something that I was passionate about, and was even quite good at.

The logical part of my brain determined that Graphic Design was probably the most sensible for me; I had always enjoyed helping other creatives evolve their business. Not only that, but I was now supporting two children, and I knew that in theory, I would be able to work from anywhere and be flexible with the kids school pick-ups and drop-offs, sick days and school holidays.

The next part of this story, may have been a sign from the universe. I am naturally quite a cautious person and like to ease into things, so I ensure I can cope with them. But, when someone on Facebook shared a Grab One link to a Semester One Paper on Graphic Design at NMIT for only $90, I knew I could probably JUST stretch for that money, plus it was only one day a week, during school hours so I could put my youngest into childcare for one day a week, I knew it was a commitment that I could at least be realistic about sticking to.

I simply loved that class. Next semester I picked up another class and the year after that, I picked up one more. So, after two years I had completed the first year of my Bachelor of Arts and Media degree.

Later that year, my parents moved back to Nelson and my youngest started school, so with the support of my family helping me with the kids now and then, I decided to go hard. I went back to NMIT full time, and finished my final two years.

I explored print making and painting, as they are art forms that I highly appreciate; however, the longer I studied, the more I gravitated towards graphic design and illustration, making them my specialties.

So! Here we are. Four-something years later, I have a bachelor’s degree in Art and Media, and I have a part time job working as an in-house graphic designer/marketing person, for a European roofing tools company. In addition to this, I’m also a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and surface designer where I get to have a lot of creative freedom and indulge my love of creating.

When I’m not working, I’m a mum to my two beautiful children, (which is still like having a full-time job). Yes, I’m still working on my job/life/mum balance, but I honestly love it.

I get to be creative for my job, pursue my own art projects and I have the flexibility to be a mum. I’m constantly learning (often the hard way) but I’m growing as a person, a mother, a professional and a creative. Bring on the next four years.

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