Wawat Rodiahwati UNE

International Women’s day feature | Wawat Rodiahwati

The second article to our series of International Women’s Day blogs highlights a woman who has demonstrated how important it is to never give up – no matter what life throws your way!

International student Wawat Rodiahwati knows all-too-well the conflicting responsibilities a single mother can endure whilst also completing a degree. Wawat is completing a Ph.D. in Chemistry and has taken the time to spend with us sharing many things, including how the support system at UNE has helped her see how strong she is, and why it is so important for women to support each other. It can be very challenging at times being a mother whilst also balancing a degree.

I had to pause my Ph.D. for nine months while I traveled home to Indonesia to deliver my son. It was very hard when I was ready to come back to resume my study, as this time I had my son to care for whilst also getting back into my research. Not only was I having to complete my Confirmation of Candidature (CoC) which any Ph.D. student can agree is a highly stressful time; but at the same time, I was also going through the process of finding my son the appropriate childcare. That was the hardest time so far in my studies.

However, what I realised was that no matter how hard a situation may be, there is always support when you need it.

“I am so blessed to be a student at a University which prioritises their student’s wellbeing”

If it wasn’t for the support I received from my supervisor professor Trevor Brown, Student Contact Officer Rebecca Sun, and the Indonesian Community, I may have given up. Each of them helped me differently. Trevor was very supportive of the situation I was in and thanks to him, I confirmed by candidature within 8 months study. Rebecca helped me find the right childcare and subsidy services, as this process can be very tricky and time-consuming but Rebecca assisted me in every step. Finally, the Indonesian Community is like a second family to me, they were and still are a huge emotional support for myself and my son. I currently live with two other Indonesian friends in a house in town where it feels like home. All three support systems helped me to gain my motivation and move forward after the difficult time I had experienced.

It is not always easy for women to pursue higher education whilst also having a family. Sometimes, it takes sacrifice and I know it is very hard. I do believe that although times can be difficult, women are also blessed with incredible strength. To all the women who have experienced or are experiencing difficulty in their field of study, I just want to remind you to never give up – you are strong and you are not alone!

It is so important for women to support each other because it feels as though a burden is lifted when we realise that we are not the only one that is facing these difficulties

Thank you Wawat for your story of perseverance and resilience! You are an inspiration to all women and students! PS: did you check out our last blog on Valarie Bockos?