Wollongong teenager overcomes anxiety, gets life back on track thanks to education

BACK ON TRACK: Angela Muller says a TAFE NSW course helped turn her life around. Miss Muller will start a law degree at University of Wollongong on February 26. Picture: Supplied
BACK ON TRACK: Angela Muller says a TAFE NSW course helped turn her life around. Miss Muller will start a law degree at University of Wollongong on February 26. Picture: Supplied

At her worst Angela Muller was crippled by anxiety and was too afraid to leave her house for almost a year.

The death of two close friends through suicide triggered the then 15-year-old’s anxiety and she dropped out of Nowra High School.

But after taking some time to work on herself and get her anxiety under control, Miss Muller is now an outgoing and motivated young woman.

So much so that the 19-year-old is only weeks away from starting a Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Wollongong.

I tried to study, but my anxiety got the better of me the first time around.

Angela Muller

“When I first dropped out of school I had given up, and I was like I’m never going to get my education,” Miss Muller said.

In an attempt to help her daughter recover, Miss Muller’s mother suggested she try the TAFE NSW Tertiary Preparation Certificate (TPC), having completed it herself a few years earlier in order to attend university.

“I tried to study, but my anxiety got the better of me the first time around,’’ Miss Muller said.

“Then, after going through counselling and exposure therapy I found I was leaving the house more so I decided to have another go at the TPC.

“This was my next step to getting my education back on track. It was also part of my recovery.”

The second time around was a rousing success, with Miss Muller securing an ATAR of 94.

The Keiraville resident is now looking forward to starting university on February 26 and hopes her story will help other young people doing it tough.

“My advice to young people would be don’t give up and it’s okay to not succeed every time you try something,” Miss Muller said.

“I failed the first time but kept going and I’m now going to study law at university.”

The proud Aboriginal chose to study law because she wanted to “give back and help people”.

“When I first started the TPC I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at uni but the further through the TPC I realised I wanted to give back to people and I figured law would be a good way to give back to not only my Aboriginal community but the wider Australian community,” Miss Muller said.

Young people can get help at www.kidshelpline.com.au or 1800 55 1800.

This story How this Wollongong teenager overcame her crippling anxiety first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.