Sam: Why I refused to have a mid-life crisis at 34
If you Google ‘pre-midlife crisis’, you’re bombarded by articles about quarter-life crises endured by Gen Y’s struggling to find their feet in the real world.
Well, what about me? Shannon Noll chose a good time to make that song popular again, because it got me thinking (yes kids, Shannon’s track was a cover of the number one hit by Moving Pictures in 1982). I was a Gold Coast beach baby that just scraped into the 70s, but I call myself an 80s kid due to the amazing influences of my early years… Mork and Mindy, Punky Brewster, The NeverEnding Story and Dirty Dancing.
Miami, 1984. Dressed by: My cousin’s hand-me-downs Photography by: Dad’s Polaroid.
After barely surviving high school, I smashed through my undergraduate degree in communications while juggling a part-time admin job and working nights as a bar wench. I then rocked my way through my early 20s as an oh-so-sophisticated marketing professional, thanks, in part, to the style advice and token one-liners from my Friends, Rachael and Monica.
You go Monica. And yes, I did actually copy this hairstyle.
Ten years later, I’ve gotten married, spawned two adorable, if not sometimes grubby children, and am back into the swing of full-time work as a less-sophisticated, though worldlier, professional. But even though I take enormous pride in my work and love my job, something was still missing. Don’t get me wrong, I take pride in my kids’ achievements, whether they be on the footy field, in the classroom or as they learn about everyday social interactions. But I needed stimulation. I needed change. I needed to accomplish something... and a ‘perfecting your makeup’ YouTube tutorial was not going to cut it (although I am going to try that eyebrow-shaping one).
During a short hiatus from the workplace to have my second cherub, I’d had a taste of what postgrad study could be like and the sense of achievement it could give by studying a course online. Cue USQ. I couldn’t believe I’d found a Masters degree that allowed me to work and study full-time so I could become qualified in as little as 1.5 years!
During my time as a Masters student I felt a deep sense of fulfilment that by studying I was doing something for me, but was also proud because I knew my whole family would benefit from the rewards that a postgraduate degree can provide, such as increased job opportunities, financial return (hey boss if you’re reading this, I’m thinking a pay rise…) and a multi-disciplinary skill-set.
I’m no super-mum, but the flexibility of a USQ degree allowed me to balance home, work and study easily. Like the time I enjoyed a week’s annual leave with the sea breeze blowing through my Monica-esque hair, watching the kids and hubby fishing on a rock wall, while contemplating the theory to use for my research project. See, balance!
A big part of that was the ease of access to my study resources and the availability of support from my course supervisors. Help was never more than an email away and I could get to my study materials from anywhere, even my phone. It felt like in no time at all I’d worked my way through my Masters and was happy-dancing my way to graduation.
Post-semester happy dance.
The support offered by USQ is amazing – it is to students what Mindy is to Mork, Johnny is to Baby and Monica is to Chandler. Even when procrastination kicked in or I needed a boost of encouragement or digital pat on the back, Social Hub was never more than a click away.
So, while I may be too old for a quarter-life crisis and far too young for a mid-life crisis, USQ postgrad has given me a reason to refuse to have a midlife crisis at 34.
If you’re like Sam and are ready for your next adventure, find out more about postgraduate study at USQ here.