Emma Baxter demonstrates that doing part-time study after years of being in the workforce can pay dividends.
"After a variety of roles in the corporate sector and having raised two kids, I decided that I needed to change direction. I was relatively happy working for a large corporation and found that I gravitated to roles where I was working with people as this gave me some level of satisfaction that various areas of management did not". Emma recalls, "While I was successful in what I was doing, I really felt that I wasn't doing what I would call my "dream" job."
Emma made the decision to enrol part time in the Bachelor of Psychology degree. "I felt that the area of Psychology had always interested me and I thought I could use the people skills that I had to better use."
Graduating in 2011 Emma thinks her graduation "was a pivotal moment in my life. I had finally finished my course and my prospects were looking good."
"My career path changed 2 years ago. Doing my Psych degree part time had allowed me to take my time planning my switch from corporate to community services. I always knew I would have to make the switch over at some stage and two years ago I did it, thanks to the study I had done."
"I started working in the homelessness sector 2 years ago as a casual housing worker. It wasn't easy to start from scratch, but having most of my degree completed was certainly helpful in getting my foot in the door".
"Within three months I had moved to a permanent role and within 9 months had secured case work with disadvantaged families. From there, I moved into the position I hold now as the Coordinator of the team. Working with people has always attracted me and working with those who are disadvantaged is humbling. I now have a great team of people working for me and it's never dull. I really love what I do."
"I think my drive and commitment came from my parents originally, but after having a family of my own, I wanted to model goal seeking behaviours in my own children. I also have a strong drive to help others so in that way, it's pretty easy."
When asked where she found her inspiration, Emma said "My partner and my sons and of course the rest of my family and friends were of particular inspiration while studying. I'd also have to say that I greatly admire strong leaders like Ghandi and Nelson Mandela. Their strength and commitment to others is truly awe inspiring."
Emma has this advice to give fresh graduates "Don't think that you have to follow someone else's path. Make your own path and if you decide that the study you have done was not for you, you can always go back and find your passion in something else. Education for it's own sake is a very precious gift that not all can access."