Lana Draper is a Ngiyampaa and Barkindji woman and one of WIC’s 2020 graduates.
Returning to university after graduating with a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in 1999, Lana completed a Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Trauma Recovery Practice in order to expand her skill set and improve her abilities in her full-time work as an occupational therapist.
“I work with a whole heap of psychologists who are doing clinical masters and all that so I thought ‘Oh Lana, you’ve got to lift your game! You’ve gotta get some more papers!’”
“And I’d been thinking about uni for a long time, about going back. I thought you know what? This is a six-month course, that’ll give me a test run to see whether it’s doable or not.”
Even while maintaining her full-time job, taking care of her family, and studying online, Lana found that it was not only doable but doable with an overall High Distinction for the course.
“I was worried about the quality of work I was going to be able to produce. The work was such a high cognitive load, and then having to tend to kids, cook dinner and all the usual running of the house, sitting down at 8.30 at night to start uni I was like, I don’t know how I’m going to be able to produce a good quality piece of work.”
“So for me, the highlight was getting a High Distinction for my final course mark, I was so happy with that.”
Lana’s also found that what she learnt throughout the course has already benefitted not only her but her coworkers at the Department of Communities and Justice as well.
“It’s given me a greater perspective on using cultural practices in my therapy and actually inviting others in the team to use cultural practices in their sessions.”
“Practices like yarning. [Psychologists] all go in with their bit of paper full of questions they want to ask, and I understand that that’s part of the process, but also sometimes just sit down and having a yarn with them. You know, who are you as a person as opposed to who are you that I need to find out about for my report writing?”
Although she’s now back to her regular full-time job, Lana plans to continue in academia after receiving a full scholarship to study a Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Health Promotion at the University of Sydney this August. She’s also exploring the possibility of undertaking a PhD in the future.
To current and future WIC students, Lana’s advice is to utilise the supports that are available.
“Give yourself time to access people like Joel, who was so so helpful. It’s hard when you’re online to gauge where you’re sitting within the rest of your group. Are you average, are you below average? It was important for me to get that feedback from Joel and say ‘No, you’re actually bang on, and you’ve done it really well,’ or say ‘You need to work on that a little bit more.’ That was invaluable.”