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This is my story by Rashmi - 01/05/2021 :: 30/06/2021

Hello everyone, my name is Rashmi Watel, and this is my story.

I came to Australia in 2012 on a working partner visa. We were newly married and in love, starting our new life in a beautiful country. I was fortunate to get a transfer from the company I worked for in India, however that luck didn’t last long as I was made redundant.

Initially, I took being made redundant personally. I felt that my world has fallen apart, I felt unworthy and started to doubt myself. One of my fellow toastmasters’ friends noticed the slight changes in my behaviour and asked me if everything was ok.

His one question – Are you ok? made me burst into tears and made me feel that someone around me cares. Although I was in a foreign country, people around me were nice, just like in my home country. So next time you see changes in your friends or family’s behaviour, you should ask them.

Unable to find work, I decided to pursue my MBA. I started my MBA journey when my oldest daughter was 1 year old. Being a first-time mum in a new country, I had overcome the blow of redundancy from my job of 5 years and post-natal depression. I had no family support, however what I had was an innate desire to pursue my masters in management.

I was determined to show to the world that yes you can study after you get married (unusual in my home country India) and after you have a child (even more unusual and unheard of.)

Getting admission to a university was a hard nut to crack, as I had to get my engineering degree vetted. I followed all the protocols and finally, I was accepted. I was so, so happy!!

It was only after I started taking my classes, did I realise what I had gotten myself in to.

My first assignment was returned to me marked as plagiarised content! I had never heard the term before. I had to google it to find out what it meant. It was the second time in the short span of six months, I was facing that my skills were outdated. I felt worthless again.

What began then was an uphill battle between me and my ambition of pursuing my passion which was to pursue a Masters degree and that too in Australia.

I picked myself up with the support of my caring husband who always said to me that ‘this time will pass Rashmi whether you pursue your MBA or not. However, as time goes by, later you will look back and think why didn’t I utilise my time? Why did I quit on my dreams?’

With his constant encouragement, support from my friends and my fellow MBA peers, I pushed along. Fast forward to my final year, I told my husband I wanted to travel to China and finish my last unit as an exchange student. He supported my decision and I finished my MBA and graduated with pride. I was the only Indian - Australian female who had graduated that term!

It was a feeling of great pride. A journey I started when my oldest daughter was 1, I completed when my youngest daughter was 1.

The ups and downs were phenomenal. Some major milestones were finding a part-time job, turning that into a full-time job, unplanned termination from a government job opportunity, facing post-natal depression, having lost my self-esteem, picking myself up again, losing my second baby due to health issues, buying our first home, becoming Australian citizens, bringing my second daughter to the world, and the list goes on!

I share these milestones not to impress you, but to impress upon you, that if we take care of our mental health as much as we do our physical health, harnessing the immense potential that all of us possess, is phenomenal.

All we need is to set our target and keep pushing through, and we can all make the impossible, possible!


Rashmi Watel

Leader, Multicultural Ambassadors Program - WA

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The Mental Health Foundation Australia acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to their elders both past and present.