Michelle: Industry changes like the tide; don’t get stuck without a paddle.
Michelle is studying a Bachelor of Business and Commerce online at USQ and is the first in her family to go to university. She works in the oil and gas industry and studies because she wants the piece of paper that backs up her skills and work experience.
First in your family to study at uni? Here is what to expect from your first year at USQ.
“Every good story-teller nowadays starts with the end, and then goes on to the beginning, and concludes with the middle...” Oscar Wilde.
The end of my story (of this part anyways) consists of me being the first in my family to attend university. I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Business and Commerce with USQ and loving every action-packed study-crammed moment of it.
Every good story starts with a crisis and, well, I had mine in my mid-20s. One day I woke up and just had this huge stream of thoughts running through my head.
Do I enjoy my job?
What happens if I become redundant and have no formal qualifications?
Do I really want to work for someone else for the rest of my life?
What are my career aspirations? Do I have any? Have I been focusing on them? (None, no and no.)
What’s next for me?
Now I know it seems a little bit nutty to wake up and have all of these thoughts running through your head, but that’s just me. As a Gen Y, I realised that I would not experience the stability of employment that previous generations had. This thought pushed me to ensure that as the business world and industries evolve, I do too.
So I decided I wanted to evolve now. I mean, I’m ready, aren't I?
Then another thought struck me: I’m in unchartered waters. Nobody in my family has attended university before … could I really be the first?
Did you know that 56% of USQ students are the first in their families to go to university*?
I didn’t really know too much about university, after all, I was in high school the last time I attended an Open Day. So I jumped on the USQ website and did a bit of research about the degree I was interested in studying, my study options and career paths, and thought I better get to the next Open Day so I could talk to uni staff about my options in person.
Open Day came along and of course I had worked myself into a bit of a tizz, so 26-year-old me took my Mum along with me to theoretically (and sometimes physically) ‘hold my hand’.
I had spoken in-depth to Mum about studying and while she hadn’t attended university herself; she was very encouraging, sat through all of the presentations with me and visited the stalls gathering pamphlets (and freebies of course). After discussing my study options with a Student Relationship Officer, I decided to apply.
If you are in the same boat I was, not sure which direction your career should go in, thinking about making a change and wanting to feel more fulfilled, these 4 tips might help you make a decision for your future:
1. Think about your passions.
What makes you get out of bed every morning? What puts that spring in your step?
2. What are you good at?
If you can’t seem to pinpoint a passion, then think about your personality and focus on the skills you have.
3. Ask away.
Talk to family, friends and colleagues about their careers. They might just have the answers you’re looking for.
4. Write a plan.
Ensure you create a plan of attack. Map out where you want to go with detailed goals and milestones.
Fast forward and we are in the middle of my study journey. I’m now passionate about USQ and the study options they provide.
While I still have a long way to go until completion of my Bachelor of Business and Commerce, I am well on my way to completing a formal degree that compliments my work experience.
Already this degree has provided me with opportunities to meet likeminded students, network with potential employers and has helped me grow not just professionally but personally too.
Knowing that I am taking steps to prepare for the ever changing tides of industry fills me with confidence that my skills will stay relevant and that I am able to future-proof my career. I would encourage everyone to pursue their higher education goals and to strive to be the biggest versions of themselves!
Thinking about exploring different career options? It is never too late to make the career change. If you need support in your future career choices, please contact the USQ Careers & Employability Team.
*Higher Education Information Management Systems (HEIMS) data, Department of Education and Training, 2013.