Maria: Slow and steady wins the race

Maria completed her Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) degree in 2016. Maria is a mother of four, manages a business with her husband and enjoys horse riding.


In 1993, as a mature age student, I was accepted into the Bachelor of Nursing at USQ. It was the most amazing feeling, knowing I was finally going to university!

The feeling was short-lived however, as the very next day I found out I was expecting my first child.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing comes close in my world to the importance of my family and how happy I was about becoming a mum! But in those days, nursing wasn’t offered externally, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to leave my baby while I studied.

So I deferred my study for a few more years and a few more babies, until eventually I began studying a Bachelor of Science (Psychology), which I could study part-time and externally. This option provided me with the flexibility to be able to combine study and raise my three children!

I won’t say I didn’t have any reservations. I had plenty of self-doubts about whether I could succeed and whether I should even be at university. I was worried about not being smart enough, whether I would remember the course content and oh my goodness… EXAMS! My fear of failure ran high.

During the course of my degree, I’ve had a few stop and starts… life happens! But I am proud and pleased to say that with the support of my lecturers and by working my tail off, I’ve done pretty well… far better than I ever believed I was capable of.

I completed my undergraduate degree in 2014, finishing the last three years alongside my eldest daughter, who was studying a dual degree in human resources and marketing. While we have always been close, this common goal has helped us support each other and provided a deeper understanding of what we were each trying to achieve, as well as the commitment required.

This year, I have been accepted into the psychology honours program, and my second eldest daughter is commencing her nursing degree. We are both excited about the journey ahead and studying together. Studying at university and raising a family is not only achievable but beneficial to both parents and kids. At the time I write this, we have four children living at home and my husband and I operate a business together. Life is busy, but with the flexibility of USQ, I am working towards a career and achieving my goals.

My tips for study success are:

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Work hard
  3. Ask for help: there really is no such thing as a silly question
  4. Keep up to date with readings and assignments
  5. Revise regularly
  6. Enjoy the journey

So, if your dream is to go to university and work towards that dream career, I encourage you to go give it a go. The destination is exciting, but the journey itself is so rewarding!

Even if you have children and a busy life already, there is a way for you to do it with USQ. At USQ, you can study on-campus, online or a combination of both. Don’t let doubt stop you from achieving your goals!


Related:

Jeremy: Guilt

Kathy: My experience as a mature age student: you're never too old to learn!

Sam: Why I refuse to have a mid-life crisis at 34