Fiona: 3 reasons you can trust your SRO

Fiona Brady blogger imageFiona offers a unique insight into the juggling act that is being a mother, part-time Master of Business Administration student and full-time USQ employee. Fiona is a Student Relationship Officer (SRO) at Toowoomba Campus who has recently completed the Post Graduate Certificate of Business.

At the end of 2013, after being out of the education experience for 20 years (yes, I am that old), I took the brave step of applying to study at USQ for Semester 1, 2014. I wanted to be a role model for my children, to be able to apply for those higher-level jobs and to improve my resume by having current tertiary qualifications. I was at a time in my life when I wanted more for myself and my family, and I knew by completing a tertiary qualification I’d be a step closer to my goals.

As a Student Relationship Officer (SRO), it is my job to provide advice to other USQ students based on my own study experiences as well as my understanding of University procedures and processes. Many students don’t know they have their own dedicated SRO they can talk to about anything study-related, while others might have some hesitations about reach out for support.

These are 3 things I think all students should know about their SRO:

1. We all have the same fears 

When I started studying it was with nervous excitement. Even though I had studied before and worked at USQ, I still stepped off the ‘cliff’ and free fell with all the worries of any new student:

  • How was I going to find the money to pay for the course?
  • Was my internet fast enough?
  • Would my old computer do the job?
  • Would I have the energy to work and study?
  • Could I live with the guilt of needing so much time to myself to study?

As the semester went on and my house fell apart because I was too busy doing assignments to do housework, the reality of me studying really hit home to my family. As my husband and children learnt how to live with a stressed out wife and mother whose instructions for dinner were ‘whatever you can reach in the cupboard you can eat’, I was reminded of my school days when I read the book Lord of the Flies. I will forever be grateful to my family who, for survival purposes, quickly adapted to our new routine, which now included time for me to study.

2. We have all felt alone

As a current student SRO, I speak to other students every day. I hear your stories, learn from them and am inspired by them. I know what you have to do each day to be successful in your study, because I’m going through the same experiences too. I know that if I can do it, so can you. 

3. We know it can be hard to ask for help

I know asking for help can sometimes feel uncomfortable, but the first rule of being a successful student is to ask for help when you need it. If you have a question but don’t know who to ask, ask your SRO. That’s what we’re here for; we know how to find and direct you to the information you need.

As a student myself, I will always be grateful for the support I receive from my fellow SROs. Like every other student, there were times when I needed a sounding board for course selection, help to book in for EndNote training sessions, help uploading my first assignment, help finding Library searching tips, someone to remind me to breathe… It’s ok to ask for help or for clarification. You’re not in this alone, and your SRO is just a phone call or email away.

For more ways to find support at USQ, check out #HELP.


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