Linda Edorsson

Many a winding turn

Monday, February 24, 2020
Linda Edorsson’s raw and honest account of her experience at Avondale
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Communication major Linda Edorsson graduated with distinction from Avondale’s Bachelor of Arts course in 2019. But the Swede’s decision to study at the university college is “a strange and long story,” which she reveals to Arts at Avondale editor Lynnette Lounsbury.

Scandinavia to Australia, that’s a long journey. How did you come to be at Avondale?
I’d been travelling in New Zealand and Australia, volunteering at the ADRA [Adventist Development and Relief Agency Australia] office and living in the nurse’s residence at Sydney Adventist Hospital. I met a lot of Avondale nursing students in the res and most people in the ADRA office were either Avondale alumni or had some other connection to Avondale, so I heard a lot of good things. And one of my friends in Sweden studied theology at Avondale. But my decision to study at Avondale, that’s a strange and long story.

We love a story. Tell us more.
I was on a horse ride in New Zealand and the horses bolted. I whispered, “Help.” And then there was a voice—it felt like home in a cup but too big for any ocean to contain. It was inside me and surrounding me at the same time. I could hear it, taste it, see it and touch it. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. I was able to stop the horse safely—although I did sprain my ankle—but the experience sent me on a quest to figure out what it all meant. Was it a sign? Was it God? Who else would it be? Did I just imagine things? How could I tell?

A few weeks later, I was talking to one of the nursing students at Avondale and he said something like, “Caring for people is so cool,” and then there was that same voice again saying, “That’s it.” By the time I’d travelled home to Sweden, I was convinced I needed to study nursing at Avondale. I’d never considered nursing, but it was a thought I couldn’t shake until I’d fully explored it. I was just too curious about why my life seemed to be taking this strange turn. Dad had been diagnosed with cancer for almost two years and I was looking for a way to cope.

Studying nursing was one of the most challenging but best things I’ve ever done. I loved it. The course equipped me to look after my family while Dad was dying. I could help confidently with his palliative care plan and support Mum.

I deferred my studies for two years and Dad died seven months later. Then came all the logistics: paperwork; moving Mum to a different house; organising 30 years of collected stuff and getting rid of most of it—nobody ever talks about this part. It was a long and complicated process and I was simultaneously trying to figure out my visa situation to go back and finish my studies at Avondale. I put grief on hold most days because I was too busy. Less than a week before flying out, I finally had a moment to stop and reflect on the previous two years. I realised I’d been burned out looking after sick people—I couldn’t do it anymore. 

I wanted to study film and tell stories and be creative again—what I’ve always wanted to do. My former housemate in Australia suggested I change degree and do arts and communication. This was the first time I heard about Avondale offering a film unit and it sounded like hope.

I sent an email to Avondale enquiring about my options. Just before my flight was to take off, I checked my inbox—no reply. I curled up on the bathroom floor, a crying mess. I didn’t want to get on the plane. But I knew there was a chance I could pursue my creativity in a new way if I did, and I knew I was too curious to let that chance pass. All I needed was the courage to wipe my tears and get on that plane. So, I did. At Sydney Airport, I checked my inbox again—a reply! I could change my degree. I found my people in arts at Avondale. The convoluted journey has been absolutely worth it.

What did you study and what did you most enjoy about it?
I studied nursing for three semesters and communication as a major and graphic design as a minor for three semesters. I loved film class but my favourite was Writing for Media Contexts. I felt nervous but excited about taking that class because I didn’t think I could write. I remember being the first student to share what I’d written because I hate being scared, so putting my hand before the others seemed like a good plan. It was a stumbling start but I got better and I enjoyed the process. The class, The Nature of Representation, was a brain stretcher. It was about the way we interpret facts versus truth versus belief. We had some incredible discussions. It’s good to throw an idea out, see where it lands and then find out if it’s worth defending once you’ve received new information.

What was your experience like at Avondale itself?
I think it might be mandatory for graduation speeches at Avondale to include a line like, “Thank you for knowing the students by name, not by number,” but it’s true. I’ve been at other universities where you feel like your lecturers couldn’t care less about who you are or what you’re struggling with or how you’re doing with your studies. It’s still a university and you’re responsible for your own, but I haven’t had one lecturer at Avondale without a here-to-help attitude. It’s lovely.

What other cool things have you done in Australia?
I travelled to the Red Centre with my housemate and we hiked around Uluru and Kata Tjuta, sat in the desert and painted, slept under the stars, sang songs and lived off baked beans. It was great. I go regularly to the beaches in Sydney and feel at home there—a chill but a little wilder version of Stockholm. I went snorkelling the other day at Shelly Beach and saw a baby shark, that was very cool.

And what’s next? 
Ah, who knows. Hopefully, I get my visa, which will allow me to stay in Australia for a while. I’ve done some freelance writing and film jobs since graduating, and I’d love to continue doing that. It’s an exciting time. I’m hoping I can use my experience as an international student at Avondale to help other international students. And I’m aiming to start my master’s degree later this year. Until then, I’ll be taking a writing class—a friend and I are writing a psychological crime thriller.

Arts at Avondale

Avondale's Bachelor of Arts (BA) is a three-year degree designed to present arts disciplines within a Christian worldview and to help you understand society and your role in it. Explore your creative skills and critical thinking, inspired by passionate lecturers in their field.