Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Returning to study a life-changer:

Returning to study after four years out of the workforce is proving to be a life-changing experience for Tessa.
By Tessa St Clair
Date: February 24 2015
Editor Rating:

As a mum of three young children my plan was always to return to work when my youngest started kindy.

My plans changed earlier last year when I became a single mum. I realised I needed to get my career back on track a little quicker than planned to provide a secure future for my three little ones.

I quickly revamped my CV and applied for numerous retail and administration jobs suited to previous work experience and tertiary qualifications.

That was the easy part, however. After several weeks of sending out numerous job applications, I really started to doubt myself, particularly when I didn’t get to the interview stage or receive many replies. It was frustrating knowing I had the skills and work experience for these jobs but was being overlooked. It then dawned on me that the four years spent out of the workforce caring for my children was blocking my chances of getting my career back on track.

After a few months of knock backs it became more and more upsetting. It quickly got to the point where I felt that I needed to focus on upskilling by upgrading my qualifications to get the jobs I want – and need.

While exploring my study options, I heard about Torrens University Australia from a family member. Torrens offers a Bachelor of Commerce, which appealed to me because I consider a career in accounting to suit my natural strength with numbers.

My biggest obstacle to study, however, was that I had left school early to enter the workforce. So my first step in applying to study at Torrens was to sit a SATAC adult entry test – and get a high enough score to qualify to apply for the Bachelor of Commerce.

Two agonising weeks after sitting the test I got my results in the post. It was such a relief that I exceeded the qualifying score and was accepted onto the Bachelor of Commerce program – how exciting! I was also offered a scholarship, a key drawcard.

This was such a high point after the recent setbacks I had experienced, but at the same time I was very nervous about starting university study.

I’m a really organised person and the thought of juggling study with caring for my young children was a little overwhelming. The thought of presenting in front of a class was nerve wracking. That said, Torrens’ small class sizes, constant contact via the online learning portal and the support from academic staff have seen me through the experience of presenting to the group with flying colours.

While it almost goes without saying that it has been hard at times juggling study with being a single mum, I feel my study experience is both manageable and is having an immensely positive impact on me as a parent. This is despite the need to manage my time very well, but I’ve received quite a lot of support from the university staff.

What’s more, my family have noticed how much my confidence has grown since starting my studies and I like the fact that the intensive study program at Torrens gives me an opportunity to complete my degree in less time, so I can start my career earlier.

As 2015 has well and truly kicked off, I’m most looking forward to studying overseas at Torrens’ sister institution, INTI International University and Colleges, and of course the brand new campus on Wakefield Street, Adelaide, in the old Menz biscuit factory.

Looking back on the past six months of study, I have to say that taking the step to start full-time study at Torrens, with three young children, has been a great – and hopefully life-changing - experience!

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