Hi there! I’m Cara and I’ve just completed a three-year Bachelor of Science (Chiropractic) degree at CQUniversity. I’ve also recently applied to study the Master of Clinical Chiropractic from Term 1, 2017.
I’ve wanted to be a Chiropractor since the early age of 11, after I received life-changing chiropractic care following a debilitating gymnastics injury. However, there was no degree available in Queensland at the time and the thought of moving away from my family for six years was overwhelming. Fortunately, CQUniversity began offering the course in 2014 at CQUniversity Brisbane and I was accepted in the very first student intake. Put simply, my 20-year dream was starting to become a reality.
Returning to study at the age of 30 did come with some challenges. My son was 18 months old when I started and my husband and I were in a position where we were both required to work to ensure financial stability. We had our fair share of adversities during my first year of study and we had residual financial stress whilst trying to assist my wonderful parents recover from losing their business in the 2010-11 floods. I struggled to find enough hours in the day to attend work, study and to also be a present mother and wife. When Uni became stressful and required additional focus I was never able to take time off work, so the extra time had to come out of my ‘family-time bank’. I also had to take up a second job when my contact hours at Uni increased to make ends meet, which put me under phenomenal stress to cope with the demands of each of my different responsibilities. At the time we had no reserve for textbooks, and my travel to and from the city each day was also very costly since we lived quite a distance from the Brisbane CBD.
Initially, I didn’t apply for an Equity Scholarship* as I didn’t believe I was eligible. I was encouraged to apply by one of the beautiful support staff at CQUni Brisbane who explained to me that students were considered based on individual circumstances, rather than a specific financial formula.
‘So, I put pen to paper, poured out my heart and told the truth about the financial pressures of our situation.’
I was completely overwhelmed with relief to find out that I had been successful. The assistance made a world of difference to me – I could now afford textbooks and take time off work when I needed to focus on Uni for assignments or exams. The most important factor or lesson in this was the realisation that as a CQUni student, there was a plethora of support available to me – all I had to do was learn to ask.
By studying Chiropractic Science at CQUniversity, I have the benefit of studying both on-campus and by distance education. The distance education side of things is absolutely fantastic in that it allows you to study at your own pace and in your own time. Being able to watch lectures while your child is sleeping, for example, is a massive assistance when it comes to being able to make study flexible enough to be achievable amongst your other commitments. Attending campus is also critical for becoming a Chiropractor (you can’t learn to adjust without being hands-on) and our practical classes are both intensive and personal – our tutors are absolutely brilliant. The chiropractic labs provide us with a space that is our own, which allows us to feel a sense of ownership and identity. Additionally, the Brisbane campus is quite small and easy to navigate and its central location makes it easy to get to from any public transport.
Our Chiropractic staff are amazing – I can’t say much more here that will do them justice. Staff are focused not only on you as an individual, but are also committed to improving the quality of the course and the standard of our education. They are genuinely engaged with our learning and are a phenomenal pillar of support for all students.
I’ve found that our cohort has a very special dynamic that I have not experienced at other Universities. Like myself, many of my peers had waited a number of years for the chiropractic course to become available. So despite our varying ages and stages, we are a very tight-knit group of individuals who have banded together repeatedly to support each other through the course. It’s a very special vibe and I value the friendships I’ve made with my peers, because I know that we will all continue to support each other in practice in future years.
To become a chiropractor in Australia, you must complete a Masters degree – so, it’s another 2 years of study for me! However, I am really excited to continue my study now more than ever as we really will be building on the foundations of the last three years.
My advice to students contemplating study at CQUniversity would be “go for it!” Trying to balance work, life and study can be daunting but CQUni is very well equipped to support you in their flexible study arrangements. I am very grateful to have always been able to track down the help I needed – all you have to do is ask. The other stand-out experience for me thus far is seeing how much student feedback is both valued and honoured. Having studied at several tertiary institutions, I have never experienced a University that was prepared to grow their curriculum based on student feedback.
‘Studying at CQUni not only allows you to be a student in the present, but you will also have the opportunity to shape the direction and quality of study for future cohorts. It’s a win-win!’
*Our 2017 Equity Scholarships are now open. For more information, including eligibility requirements and upcoming closing dates, visit cqu.edu.au/scholarships or phone 13 27 86.