Balancing Part-Time and Distance Study with Life: Highlights and Challenges

Knowing what I wanted to study, I graduated high school and jumped straight into full-time study at another university. I was halfway through my first semester, sitting in my car with a uni parking fine in my hand, and I felt like I was having a meltdown. I made the realisation – ‘perhaps I’m not ready for this just yet.’.

I decided that the travel was too far and too expensive, the workload was such a leap from high-school that I doubted my ability to even complete my first assignment and my anxiety disorder hindered my ability to ask for help let alone make friends. So, I took a year off. Being only 18 years old at the time, I had a lot on my plate.

I had to save for a new car after a serious accident, I had to move out of home as my family was moving overseas and interstate and I had to do all this on a mere Subway wage. And yet, that year off was the best decision I had ever made.

Once I felt ready to get back into study still bubbling with my passion to become a teacher, I confided in my aunty who, at the time, was also an education student and a student ambassador for CQUni. She encouraged me to enrol at CQUni and what appealed to me most was the option to do my studies both part-time and distance. Having to maintain such an adult lifestyle at 18 years old and somehow fit study in, this option seemed perfect and quite frankly, the only option for me.

Part-time has given me the flexibility to work 30-40 hours a week and distance has allowed me the luxury of designing my own study timetable. For many, this may seem daunting having to monitor your own learning and motivate yourself to actually do the work but the online support is remarkable! I have had tutors consistently email and personally call to ensure I am managing the work okay and if they can assist in any way.

My study path now feels so much more personal and caters to my learning style and needs much more than if I were to attend a campus on a strict study schedule. I can proudly say that I am maintaining a 6.33 GPA (and rising), producing outstanding marks in all my units and been offered amazing opportunities, nominated for and won CQUni awards, invited into the Golden Key Honour Society and commended on my overall academic achievements from the dean on numerous occasions.

From this, I can confidently deduce that creating my own study path with CQUni through part-time and distance study was the best decision I could have made for myself. Rather than following the mainstream approach to tertiary study, I am now succeeding the same, if not better, than a full-time campus student – I highly recommend!

If CQUni’s flexible course options sound like they will fit your needs, contact us or send us a message on Facebook and our support team will help you take the next step.

Why do you study education at CQUniveristy?

As cliché as it may sound, becoming a teacher has been the dream since grade 3. Like most, you had your favourite teachers at school, and they were the ones who were teaching as more than a job. Personally, my favourite teachers inspired me with their ability to make me feel a sense of belonging in their classroom and encourage my ability to succeed in my OWN way. It was my very least favourites who motivated me to do better to ‘right their wrongs’ by understanding my students wants and needs before my own. I wanted to study education because of who I am as a person – empathetic, driven, organised, passionate and enthusiastic about learning as well as asking myself what is the impact I want to leave behind in this crazy world?

What is Golden Key Honours Society? Strive to achieve more in your study!

In all honesty, I had no clue what the Golden Key Honours Society was until I received an invitation in the mail. Once I had wrapped my head around it, I was thrilled to be recognised and invited to join the society (as you cannot apply, it is invitation only!). Students from all around the world who are within the top 15% of academic achievers in their university are eligible to become members of the global society.

The Golden Key Society opens exciting doors and opportunities such as scholarships including travel grants and research grants all over the globe, access to exclusive networks including regional and international leadership summits, career advancement opportunities including internship access and resume development and global recognition and acknowledgement – just to name a few!

All these experiences extend beyond your local university community are very privileged opportunities, however, Golden Key is aimed to recognise students’ dedication and overall hard work in their chosen studies to achieve impressive scores and outcomes.

The core values of the society are academics, leadership and service and upon attending my welcome ceremony at CQUni Rockhampton campus, I realised how special and significant this society really is. These 3 core values are represented in what it means to be a successful and competent teacher in the 21st century so, to be part of a society that is connected to my own studies and personal philosophy, it is truly special.

This society is one of the many opportunities that are available to CQUni students that encourage growth, allow recognition beyond the classroom, ignite inspiration and drive within themselves and others. I truly believe striving for more than the ‘C’s get degrees’ approach will prove more rewarding in the long term and provide you with an edge for future employers. Out of hundreds of graduates with the same diploma, what is going to set you aside from everyone else? What makes you stand out? What makes your degree special? Use these opportunities to stand out (and keep an eye on your mailbox)!

What To Expect on Your First Teaching Prac: How to Nail It.

One of the best things about CQUni is that as part of an education degree, you are exposed to the practical side of teaching early on in your degree. Many students can be apprehensive as to whether teaching is the right path for them, so my advice when going on your first placement is this;

“It is your very first taste of the career as a teacher, no longer as a student and as overwhelming as the experience may be initially, it is important to immerse yourself in as many aspects of the prac as best you can.”

I can honestly say I personally struggled with the idea that I was a university student who is so young and new to the idea of teaching actual students, but the expectation is to be an education professional and a role model for students who may not be much younger than yourself. Sitting in the staff room, I felt very out of place. I wasn’t a parent with insight into young people or had extensive life experiences under my belt so, how could I teach these kids anything valuable?

I found myself frantically arranging meetings with other teachers, sending out questions and emails and requests for all school policies and documents for me to read over and study the heck out of. However, as I built a confidence and rapport with my regular students, began teaching and finding a groove in what I was doing, I accepted that I actually don’t know everything, and I will always be learning even as a teacher. After this realisation, I finally felt more a part of the school community. The thing that helped me the most through the challenging points, as encouraged by the CQUni staff, was to constantly reflect on how you’re feeling, what is going on around you and in your brain and set goals you’d like to hit during prac (other than the assessment of course).

I decided to hold my accountability through posting daily prac stories and reflections on my teaching Instagram account (@missforsaith). This practice allowed me to clear the fog from my mind and think clearly about a realistic plan for my overall prac. My mentor teachers noticed the shift in my teaching practice and praised me on my ability to reflect whilst seeing the silver lining in the crazy situations (a manic grade 8 textiles lesson at the time). It is only now that I reflect on that crazy few months, that I can truly appreciate how much I gained and how satisfied and fulfilled I felt. That is how I knew I was on the right path and it gave me a whole new sense of passion and drive to continue my study with the first-hand knowledge from my in-school experience.

If you are about to embark on your first practical experience in your degree or are planning to study Education in the near future, you can find all the information you need about professional experience on the CQUniversity website.

Being a CQUni Student Ambassador: My Experience

In 2019, I became one of a select few Student Ambassadors for CQUniversity Brisbane. Being a Student Ambassador is a great way to network, make money while participating in CQUniversity events and get around to different places! So far, this opportunity has lead to me to some pretty rewarding and exciting experiences!

I had the privilege of giving a CQUni Presentation at Holland State Park High School to chat about life after school, potential pathways with CQUni and overall my experience at CQUni. Being a pre-service teacher, I thrived in the classroom and this experience became a networking opportunity for me being at a secondary school. I liaised with fellow presenters from other universities, volunteer organisations, classroom teachers and plenty others. This experience is still one of my most memorable moments at CQUni, I became really excited about what being an ambassador for my uni really could be.

In June, I was part of the CQUni team at the Brisbane Careers and Employment Expo. Wow, what an overwhelming experience, but also one of the most valuable. I was able to chat and guide so many students from Brisbane schools as to what they wanted to do after school, ease any doubts about university and answer as many questions as possible. Being part of the expo with CQUni truly built my communication confidence with students, teachers, university alumni and my fellow CQUni staff. It also gave me the chance to expand my knowledge on the range of pathways students can take after school, which will be valuable for me as a secondary teacher in the near future.

I had such a great experience in 2019 as a Student Ambassador and I have been offered to stay on another year for 2020! I am now looking forward to some new experiences with CQUni in the new year and looking forward to sharing them! If you’re interested in becoming a Student Ambassador for CQUni, check out the #CQUnilife blog ‘Three reasons why you should apply to be a Student Ambassador‘.

To apply to become a Student Ambassador in 2020, please submit a copy of your current resumé and a brief cover letter to Applications close Monday, 2 March 2020.

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