When the going gets tough, Megs Dudley-Bateman gets going. This 30-year-old Mount Martha resident, who has been thrown curve ball after curve ball, gets her grit from believing in herself and refusing to stop evolving. You may not arrive at your destination the same way as everyone else does, but who wants to be like everybody else anyway?
Megs explains: “I was diagnosed with galactosemia as a baby. That means I can’t process and produce energy from galactose. I have tremors and problems with my eyes and had to have an eye correction procedure in 2016. It’s also damaged my ovaries. I get really tired too. I went to Moorooduc Primary School, which I enjoyed, but secondary school, when people were forming social groups, was difficult. I felt different. It wasn’t until I was also diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorder in my early 20s that I realised there was another reason as to why it was so hard. I really shake when I get anxious.”
From appointments at the Royal Children’s Hospital to working at KFC, the Essendon Football Club and in the media department of a not-for-profit in Collingwood, this young woman has somehow completed a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing and a Bachelor of Marketing Communication to land at Swinburne University in Hawthorn, where she’ll be doing her Master of Media and Communication in 2021.
She continues: “Studying has been the hardest thing I have ever done because it’s not easy for me to concentrate and finish things. I’ve started a media course at Holmesglen, a Master of Sport Business and Integrity and a graduate certificate in media communications. Campus can be quite overwhelming even when I have a support system. Lectures can become challenging, so I try to find a spot at the back of the room or head to the library where I can decompress and reset my social battery. Sometimes I can’t face all the activity, which means it’s hard to make friends because people make assumptions about how I’m behaving. I find women are harder to read because of their subtle nuances, but I still want to be part of the tertiary experience. I’ve been driving to Victoria University in Footscray from Mount Martha for three years and will be driving to Hawthorn three or four days a week, so I must want to do it.”
Yep, fair call, Megs. What motivates her to keep going? She concludes: “I want to do better and achieve as much as I can. I want to see how far I can go and am inspired to do my PhD after this.”
Whether she understands social cues or not, this part-time painter, gym junkie and true crime documentary and podcast lover is committed to giving it her best shot. One day at a time.