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I have never ever put myself front and centre like this before. It was weird at first, but … no one died as a result … the world did not end!

Let's celebrate! - Students

“I’m the first person I think in my entire bloodline to set foot in a university”
(Lachlan, 24)

There are so many reasons to celebrate returning to study. Many students were surprised at their own capabilities, and were discovering or re-discovering things about themselves.

Let’s hear what students are celebrating:

  • It's time!

    Turning 40 was a big thing for me … and sort of realising that if I really was going to do anything different, … I needed to do it now.
    (Female student, 40-50)

    I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. I enjoyed accounting at high school but once I got married and had kids it was a bit impossible to do it. Once the kids finished school I just thought it was time to take the time and have a go at it ... change of career and get some qualifications.
    (Male student, 40-50, father of two children)

    I was straight out of school; I just was not mature enough to actually go to classes and study and all that sort of stuff, then when I turned 23 I was like “Yes, it’s really what I want to do it”. Yes, I think this time around I’m going into uni with the right mind frame and I’m a bit more mature now and I can miss out on going to a party if I have to study.
    (Female student, 20-30)

    I’ve done a few different things throughout my career … and I just thought, you know, “I just need something else to maybe start stimulating my mind again", and that sort of thing.
    (Female student, 50+)

    My mother didn’t go to university, my grandmother didn’t go to university; higher education wasn’t expected – I think it was something I might have wanted to do at some point but last year when I kind of reached a cross-roads, I thought “I need to do more. I could be working for another 30-40 years … age of retirement keeps moving back and I can’t just plod along” … Last year, around September, my husband said “You’ve always wanted to go to university. Now’s the time. Just do it!”
    (Female student, 40-50, mother of two children)

    My mum … she’s pushed me for years and years … ‘you’ve got the ability, just do it. Just do it’
    (Female student, 30-40, mother of one child)

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  • I am capable!

    I’ve discovered what I’ve always known – that I’m capable of a lot of things that I have not had the chance to undertake as a youngster so definitely my self-confidence has grown in leaps and bounds so it’s very good.
    (Female student, 40-50)

    I think studying has made me realise I am capable of a lot more than I thought I was. Every time I get an assignment back and I receive a good mark it boosts my confidence and I realise I do have a brain and I am capable of learning and participating at this level on par with the rest of the students.
    (Female online student, 50+, mother of two adult children)

    All my self doubt and feeling on my own surrounded by people a lot smarter than myself, was not the case at all. I am up there with them as well.
    (Female online student, 50+, mother of four adult children)

    I realise that I’ve actually got a brain … I can actually understand what’s going on
    (Female student, 50+)

    University was something which was … on another planet … then I realised actually ‘I probably am capable. I have got what it takes’.
    (Female student, 40-50, mother of three children)

    I get so busy … I forget to sort of analyse where I’ve come from … I feel a bit proud of myself now!
    (Female student, 30-40, single mum of two children)

    I can do this!
    (Female student, 50+, mother of three children)

    I realised that I am really smart! I love getting assignments back with good marks and I love learning. I have deepened my ability to interpret and analyse, along with developing an appreciation of academic texts and research processes.
    (Female student, 40-50, single mother to four children)

    I realised that that I am actually an intelligent human being … and that there is still so much to learn!
    (online student, female 40-50)

    I am clever! I am committed, I am not a quitter, I can still raise my family, earn a living, mow the lawns and study.
    (Female online student, 40-50)

    I’ve discovered a passion for learning and that I am not too bad at assignments even though I detest doing them and they do not come naturally to me!!!
    (Female student, 40-50, mother of two children)

    I’ve realised that I am capable of writing a decent essay, my artwork is valued and I can manage a household and do this!
    (Female student, 40-50, mother of two children)

    I am smarter than I thought … I should have done this when it was free in the 80's.
    (Female student, 40-50,mother of two children)

    I've discovered that I am quite smart. I have a wealth of knowledge I didn't realise I had and I have great organisational skills. I've realised I am disciplined, which I never thought I was.
    (Female student, 30-40)

    I've discovered that I'm not unintelligent, that I enjoy studying and that I'm a perfectionist, getting disappointed if I achieve under 90% for a task.
    (Female student, 30-40, mother of two children)

    I can multitask more than I ever thought possible!
    (Female student 30-40 year old mother of two children)

    I can write essays!!!! I am a lot smarter than I gave myself credit for. I really didn’t think I could do it but look, I am! :)
    (Female student, 25-30 )

    That I am a smart woman, and can achieve anything once I put my mind to it.
    (Female student, 25-30, ,single mother)

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  • A new me!

    It was amazing.  I thought … it’s the first time since my children have been born that I was doing something that furthered me, helped me to develop my own mind.
    (Female student , 40-50)

    I’ve grown up … you know, growing up on the streets and crying yourself to sleep. If the sun was shining … that’s enough to get me through the day, you know, whereas now I’ve got a lot of good positive things in my life so it’s very hard for people to make me become negative.
    (Male student, 30-40, father of four children)

    I have a better sense of self-worth. A new direction in life can give a new perspective on life.
    (Male online student, 40-50, father of three children)

    I really like studying and learning, I'm enjoying the challenge of studying a new area. Initially, I felt a bit daunted by hanging out with a bunch of young people but it's been fine.
    (Female student, 40-50)

    My self confidence has blossomed. I am more vocal and confident, I am more curious about the world and the people in it, I have opinions I was not previously aware of. I will search for information and answers when I am not satisfied with what is available. I can speak in public - yes, I can speak in public. I have given two eulogies since beginning university, and they were not as stressful as they would have been previously. I would never have stood in front of people and spoken without a great deal of nervous terror. I can do this now.
    (Female student, 40-50, mother of one child)

    I’ve discovered that I like learning stuff; I am really enjoying myself; how much I enjoy studying; how much I love the library!
    (Female online student, 30-40)

    I have respect for myself, I am intelligent, I am a great essay writer, I love what I'm learning, I love my tutors they are amazing, the online world is supportive, there is so much assistance for online learning - discussion boards, essay help, fee help, I love my art books.
    (Female online student, 30-40)

    I've become more focused, determined and time management skills have improved! I have also found it much easier to join into conversations and discussions with groups - I had always been a person that wouldn't contribute heaps in a discussion in case I sounded stupid or was wrong, but now that doesn't bother me as much.
    (Male student, 30-40)

    I never dreamed I could actually have anything of value to say. I have also discovered that I can write well. I have learnt what I like and what I dislike. I have also realized skills I didn’t know I possessed, like the ability to mentor others and help them on their way. I never thought my experience could help someone else and I never dreamed my opinions would matter.
    (Female student, 30-40, mother of three children)

    I am happier when I am learning and bettering myself. It's a good feeling working so hard for something it will make the day I get my degree sooooo worth it.
    (Female online student, 25-30)

    We don't have any doctors in the family so I think it was a little bit unexpected for some but also, in our family I guess it’s looked up to and held in quite high regard and yes, I think surprised but they’re proud of me as well that I’ve got to this. It’s weird.
    ( Female student 30-40)

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  • Re-discovering things about me

    I have rediscovered the determination within myself to achieve and a motivation to move forward in life.
    (Female student, 40-50, single mother of three children)

    I am smarter than I thought I was, being a mostly HD student, it has built my self esteem. I have rediscovered self-discipline to study even when I am not feeling like it. I like my identity as a University Student.
    (Female student, 30-40, mother of three children)

    I have a thirst for knowledge I'd forgotten about. I've learned I'm capable of a lot more than I would have believed before.
    (Female student, 30-40)

    I'd forgotten How much I enjoy learning. Also not being forced to be here, I enjoy it more
    (Female student, 25-30)

    I have discovered that I am a lot more disciplined than I first thought. I have rediscovered my love of the English language and writing
    (Female student, 30-40, step-mother to four children)

    Well I’m actually really good at it. Yes, it’s amazed me that I’m actually doing really well in it, you know, grades wise and also continuing with it because it’s not really something I thought was in me to stick it out and I have and now it’s almost like I can’t stop doing it.
    (Female student, 30-40, single mother of one child)

    I’m always quite pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy it but sometimes as well how much I already know. So, it’s quite reassuring and confidence-building.
    (Female student, 30-40)

    Now I've got real direction and who knows where I'll end up … now I'm thinking about being a doctor. It's immense like huge, really.
    (Male student, 30-40)

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  • I am a role model

    I’ve always lived in department of housing and I wanted my kids to realize that just ‘cause that’s where you come from it doesn’t mean it closes off your options. If I can do it, they can do it.
    (Female student, 30-40, mother of three children)

    I thought I deserved better than being a single mum, wanting more for myself and growing up in housing commission and seeing how some kids can go. So I thought if I set the path for my kids then, fingers crossed, they’ll be able to go to uni and get a good job themselves.
    (Female student, 30-40, single mother of three children)

    I try and get [my sister] to come to university, all the time. I say it’s the best thing in the world.
    (Male student, 30-40)

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  • No regrets

    This is the best part of your life.  Once you leave here you’re going to look back and just wish you were here again
    (Female student, 20-30)

    Never say never! I have always been confident and had self belief. Since the death of my husband it gave me a new project. I so far have completed three units, waiting on grades from the fourth. My results; 2 distinctions and 1 credit. I am proud of my achievements as I have found everything extremely challenging.
    (Female online student, 50+)

    … but I woke up [from a coma] and I was dead set I was going to uni. I’ll never forget when I think like a few days after we had a meeting where it was like all my family, all my doctors and all the specialists were all around my bed and they’re discussing my recovery and what was going on and I was just like “Excuse me though, when am I going to uni? I was supposed to have started last week and I’m already late. I can’t be late”
    (Female student, , 20-30)

    I'll be 62 in a few weeks …what if you live till you're 110? There's still a lot of life left … I’ve always wanted to go to university even when I was a kid. I was always very bright at school and I knew that our circumstances would never permit that. My mother had 6 children and I was number 2, the eldest girl. So I left school; I just turned 15 in July and I left school in September and got a job and I’ve been working ever since
    (Female student, 60+)

    I just think anything's possible … I don't think that I will ever stop studying now. I think once I get into the nursing and finish that I’ll probably study something else.
    (Female student, 20-30)

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