For me heading back to study was a really big decision. Not only do i work full time but as it is for most people in their thirties i have to provide a full time income to survive.
I weighed the long term goal i wanted; did i want to earn more money or do something i was passionate about? Any course i looked at, required a lot of time and all the scarier: higher than a grade 10 pass.
I advocate for people in their thirties still not knowing what they really want to do long term, it isn’t the case that people choose a career and that’s it, you’ve got your life made career wise. Personally, i have had a multitude of dreams and all felt possible to be right for me, on New Years Eve 2018 i knew it was now or never and i needed to put some action into my ideas.
I contacted universities and colleges and questioned them on how i would get into a course, any course i really didn’t know still. I sent email after email and just got the same scrapbook replies “You need to apply for this course and then apply” not so helpful.
I decided on a bachelor of education and though it seems so easy for students, for a mature age student it was not easy at all. There is no go-to person for you to ask for career advice and the process itself is daunting.
I did as much research as i could on the courses each school offered and worked out that i needed to sit a test called ‘STAT’ – that process was pretty easy enough to do, pay the money and book a date. I figured out that i should use VTAC to apply as i could apply for multiple courses to increase my offers.
The exams were intense and i was one of the oldest people in a room full of desks, but i did it and i felt an inane sense of achievement just for doing it.
When i got my results i was pretty disappointed to not receive any offers. I was devastated. But, I had ticked a little box called ‘send me supplementary offers’
I received three offers, i decided to choose one that had nothing to do with my original idea but was one i really thought i could enjoy and it was on the same street as my work so i could drop a day here and there and juggle it.
My course is full time, it is a bachelor degree of journalism and when i asked my friends who had studied when they were younger they all advised me it would be possible to work and study. They were not right. The course load of a full time study is actually what they say – full time. With any degree or diploma you have several classes a week often spread out over days and then there is the study time and assignments due.
My first semester of assignments were over COVID first lock down and thank god because a girl could not have handled my normal employment as practice manager of a busy dental clinic would have left me drowning. I did not know how to study, I didn’t know how to set time aside and work smarter because I had never done my VCE or learnt the skills required.
To make it work, I had to take a job that had flexible hours, I work weekends and the days I am not at Uni and after my uni day ends, I often go to work as well. When you are studying it is integral that you think of ‘short term pain for long term gain’ , yes, you may work a job that isn’t what you might consider ‘grown up’, but every sacrifice I make whether it be losing some sleep, missing friends and family get togethers I remind myself that I am doing this to further myself.
I cannot recommend enough utilising the schools help, my college has an amazing advisor who helped me while I was in tears feeling like I had sacrificed my life and career to fail at this. Now, I know how to get ahead of the game early on in my semester, set aside ideas and talk to my lecturers about my ideas and thoughts so I can get some direction if I am unsure.
If you really want to study then do it now. I realised I not only had the time to do it, but I can feel how much room I had in myself to further educate and learn not only about my course but about myself.
Below are some links for mature age students:
STAT multiple choice gives you mock exam booklets so you can study and i highly recommend you do it and pay for the extra study booklets.
Click here: https://stat.acer.org/au
VTAC is brilliant for anybody neededing some information on courses
Click here: https://www.vtac.edu.au