My Journey Back to Eastern

Simone Turner began studying a Bachelor of Ministry at Tabor with her husband in 1998. After some time, Simone put her studies on hold to work full time as a High School Chaplain. Simone then got married, had her first child and together with her husband planted a church. During these seasons of her life, Simone never forgot about her Bachelor course and hoped she would get back to it one day.

As I have learnt, life doesn’t necessarily always go to my plan and I found the years were ticking on and maybe that inspiration to finish my degree was just too far gone. It wasn’t until, many years later, when my husband and I felt it was time to hand the church leadership over and to move into another season of life that I began to wonder what would be next for me. My young dependent children were growing and my youngest was approaching school starting age, so this triggered a new stirring and shifting in me to explore something new. I began to wonder again what it would look like to re-engage in study and tentatively put my feelers out to see what I could find.

For a long time I had wondered what it would be like to be a school teacher and through my work as a school chaplain had discovered a strong drawing to the school community and life. My children being at primary school had meant I could get very involved in this strong connection I felt but I was feeling stirred to explore it deeper. I looked around at other courses, becoming increasingly aware that it was time to get back to my original degree and finish it off in order to move into this next season.

So in 2013, this brought me back to Eastern to start a conversation about what this would look like. I was so encouraged by the willingness and support I felt to re-engage with what I started so many years ago. There were many emails and phone calls that I made, as I navigated my pathway again. It was like going back to an old familiar track that I had walked many years before, but realising that things had changed. It would look a whole lot different now and I needed to forge ahead in a different way. Eastern had moved from Ringwood North, Oban Road to Mulgrave, and my Bachelor of Ministry course was no longer as it had existed.

I am eternally grateful for those who made it possible for me to return to study here. After much consideration, I was enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts at Eastern, being recognised for my previous studies, as well as shaping into a new degree. I decided it was time to pick up the books again and began with one subject a semester just to see how it all worked in with my busy, family life. I had a very supportive family and eventually found myself fully jumping in, with a full time load.

“I decided it was time to pick up the books again and began with one subject a semester just to see how it all worked in with my busy, family life.

But this wasn’t the only purpose for being back. God had been stirring within me a desire to study to be a primary school teacher. At first it was a little scary to admit, but it became clearer the more I studied that I was not just here to finish what I had started but to set myself on a pathway that was altogether different than when I originally went to study.

So with the support from many of the staff and students here at this college, I completed my Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Youth Studies, mid 2015 and then jumped straight into the Graduate Diploma of Education (Primary), which I am due to finish mid 2016.

I feel humbled to be at this point and to be here. It has been the most rewarding experience to come back and finish what I started with my studies and I thank God for the unusual pathway He has led me on to this day. I feel excited about what is next. I am enjoying my current studies a lot and look forward to stepping into whatever God provides. God is truly remarkable and I know with all the twists and turns and deepening and richness of faith I have journeyed is in part attributed to what I have encountered through my studies at Eastern.

My experience at Eastern has given me a sharper mind, deepened my faith, given me a rich and widening community and inspired me to be courageous in doing my part to change the world I find myself in everyday.

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