Michaela – passionate & active uni student
“I’m an ambitious uni student. What others say without thought for my feelings has never stopped me, but instead encouraged me to strive for the best. (I have spinal muscular atrophy type 2.)”
Michaela has been a ‘book’ with the Hobart Human Library since it began and during this time she’s worked tirelessly presenting to schools, educators and workplaces. She reckons the key aspect of being a human ‘book’ is being a community educator with the goal of informing individuals on the effects of discrimination.
“As a person who experiences discrimination first-hand, my aim is to show others that we are just like everybody else, and this is a fundamental key in closing the gap on discrimination within our society.”
However Michaela stresses involvement with Hobart Human Library has also been a great opportunity for personal growth. Competencies she has further developed include dress sense, time management and presentation skills including communication clarity and the ability to engage and capture an audience. She feels that in the almost five years of her participation everyone involved in presenting at workshops has benefited from the experience.
With enhanced skills Michaela’s self-confidence has also grown. It had suffered previously. Being differently abled, she had been frequently overlooked for work experience or employment opportunities. But now, armed with enhanced abilities and confidence, her pursuit of a Bachelor of Legal Studies and future career in law has been greatly assisted. She particularly points to her ability to make effective presentations when her class undertakes practice in courtroom procedures, but also the time she convinced her lecturer of her competence to undertake a senior class.
Being a human ‘book’ has also helped develop Michaela’s professional profile. Representatives from National Disability Services attended Hobart Human Library sessions and witnessed first-hand her presentation skills. Impressed, they recruited her to give presentations as part of ProjectABLE.
Here’s a closing thought from Michaela:
“…I have also helped show others that to exclude people from the workplace because they are different may often mean you are missing out on the best person for the job.”