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Breaking the barrier

After a lifetime of hurdles and being told she wasn’t good enough, Rebecca shares her story of triumph through education and embracing her true identity.

Meet Rebecca Cohan, a TAFE Queensland student who shares her incredible journey of education and self-discovery as an Australian Indigenous woman in her episode 'Breaking the Barrier,' part of the new series from the My Study Journey podcast called 'Connecting Cultures'.

Rebecca candidly shares her story of growing up with no connection to her heritage, moving through seven primary schools and eventually discovering a learning disability that for many years steered the direction of her life.

Reflecting back on her earlier years, she explains the type of advice she received when asking for help "My career advisor at the time told me that the only thing I could achieve in life was to be a checkout girl." Rebecca opens up about her struggles with dyslexia from a young age and how it affected her education "A lot of people, especially the teachers, would push me harder and harder, and they really couldn't understand why I couldn't keep up with a lot of the other kids." She also discusses how she didn't receive the support she needed at school and how it affected her confidence "It felt like people didn't care."

In the years to follow, after leaving school early, Rebecca always had a yearning for more and eventually embarked on an educational journey with TAFE Queensland, completing her Certificate III in Community Services (CHC32015) and is now pursuing a Certificate IV in Youth Work (CHC40413). Rebecca explains why she chose to study youth work "I believe everyone has a right to justice. You know, social justice is very, very important. There are people in the community who never get seen, who never get heard, and if you can help someone in some way, why not?" Her story of determination and resilience is inspiring and will leave you feeling empowered.

Rebecca's journey is one of hope, perseverance, and the power of education "There were many times I thought, "Oh goodness, I can't get through this. I can't do it. I had to keep pushing myself and believing in myself a little bit more that, Hey, you've come this far, you're not giving up."