Jamie: The elephant in the room
After 25 years, Jamie decided to return to study. Now, he has completed his Master of Business Administration degree. Jamie is married with 2 beautiful boys and works full-time as Commercial Manager with an aircraft charter brokerage based in Brisbane.
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G’day, I’m Jamie Kennedy. I want to share with you a shortened version of my experience conquering ‘The Elephant in the Room’.
I finished secondary school more than 25 years ago, and my only other experience with tertiary education before beginning my MBA with the University of Southern Queensland in 2012, was the day I attended orientation for another university (also many years ago) to organise subjects for a science degree.
That day created some real mental barriers for me in terms of further education, because unlike my impression of all the other students that day who seemed to know exactly what they were doing and where they needed to go, I didn’t! I was lost in a sea that was this huge University Campus seeing people busy going about their business with a lot more purpose than I seemed to have, and when I finally talked to someone about starting my journey at Uni I was completely intimidated and left feeling like Uni was about to become the last thing I wanted to do with my life.
Fast forward to the present and I’m nearly there! In my time since that first taste of Uni, I became an aircraft engineer in the Australian Defence Force before spending over 10 years in the private sector working in the materials handling industry selling capital equipment. While I carried that first negative experience with me all the way, it was this experience which gradually ate away at me and helped me decide that I wanted to go back to Uni and conquer that fear from so many years ago.
As a 100% online student I can honestly say that my experience with USQ, the people and resources available at the uni has been excellent and they were instrumental in helping me get started with the MBA and have continued to help me reach each milestone towards this qualification.
Having a full time job, a young family and a generally busy life was always going to be a big challenge to me, so I decided to break the course up into small chunks and just focus on reaching the next checkpoint (1 module per semester in my case), before looking too far ahead knowing that every one of these checkpoints would bring me closer to the finish. USQ makes this process painless, with an easy to understand layout of course content and resources such as the library, instructors, forums and other tools only a click or phone call away.
There were certainly times during the course where stress levels rose and the pressure to meet deadlines was high, but the support I received from my family and workplace helped me to stay on track and keep going. My wife often disappeared with the kids for a day or weekend when things were getting hectic so I could focus 100% on the task at hand and there have been a few occasions where they (especially the boys) have asked me how long to go because they want more time with me, but they have equally been a big part of my success in balancing this course with all my other responsibilities and so long as I achieve the small steps with the end in mind, everything seems to get done.
My advice to anyone considering starting a University course at USQ is to ‘just get started.’ Once you overcome that fear of the first step, the support is there and the rest will happen. For me, taking that first step was the best way to deal with the Elephant in the room and get on the way to achieving something that I’ve been considering for a very long time.
Be Fearless! Good Luck!