A YEAR ago, Jenny Milich was homeless, depressed and suffering anxiety.
Now she’s been crowned student of the year at Albury campus of the Riverina Institute of TAFE.
Ms Milich, 51, said education had pulled her out of a life of despair.
“I was pretty much homeless, I had depression and anxiety and I was not wanting to participate in the world ever again,” she said.
“I started receiving counselling and I started thinking I needed a reason to get out of bed because I just didn’t have the strength.”
Through counselling, Ms Milich chose to undertake a TAFE diploma in business administration.
She graduated with distinctions, having registered to study online because she found it hard to deal with people.
“Online study taught me how to research and I learnt how to study and I have a lot of trouble focusing and concentrating so I can choose the time to work on assignments,” she said.
“I was so surprised — I’m just Jenny, doing my thing and living one day at a time.”
Ms Milich works three days a week in Albury for The Personnel Group, which supports people with disabilities and mental health conditions who are looking for employment.
Ms Milich thanked her teachers Lyn Hamilton and Lyn Knoble.
She was one of 887 students to graduate across more than 100 courses.
Carmen King, a hairdresser at FunkyCutz, was apprentice of the year.
FunkyCutz’s Annie Mallat said Ms King was everything she looked for in an employee.
“She has never taken a sick day and she never lets you down,” she said.