Many CSU students are the first in their families to attend university, but it’s a rare thing to find a graduate who was not only the first in her family to get a degree, but the first in her family to complete high school.
And Zita Youens did not stop there. Instead she chose CSU for three of her five university qualifications, completing a Bachelor of Arts (Library and Information Studies), a Graduate Diploma of Psychology and a Master of Business Administration at CSU, a Graduate Diploma in Business at RMIT and a Master of Education, specialising in Work and Learning Studies, at Monash University.
Now managing an academic library within a Victorian TAFE, Zita is presented with plenty of opportunities to help others on their path to learning.
Here, Zita provides an insight into her thirst for knowledge.
I was the first in my family...to complete high school, let alone attend university. This was probably the main reason I waited so long to enrol at university and then choose a distance education option. My family were in awe, but at the same time, quite puzzled as to why I wanted to study for a degree after previously completing a TAFE diploma.
My childhood was...noisy and competitive, as the middle child of seven.
I was a nosy (although I like to call it inquisitive) child. At school I was a hard worker and generally enjoyed both my studies and the environment, including close friendships, some of which are still active.
I chose CSU...because I was able to study whilst raising two young daughters (three by the time I had graduated the first time) and balance this with a husband who was often working away from home. I was also nervous and felt more confident being somewhat anonymous, which you couldn’t be in a face-to-face classroom environment.
At university I was inspired...to achieve. The very first course at CSU took a long time and was quite difficult to balance with my everyday life, but my initial success inspired me to continue to take up learning opportunities.
Today I’m motivated to...enable others to achieve success in their learning journey, not just the students who use our services, but also in supporting my staff who sometimes need encouragement to take the first step in their own learning journey.
In my profession it is important to...understand that there are many ways we can learn, so providing a service that is responsive and supportive of individuals’ learning styles and needs is vital.
I am passionate about what I do because I have an understanding about how far we can travel professionally in life if we have the right support, encouragement and guidance. For this reason, I feel compelled to offer support and encouragement to the students who use our service.
The biggest influence in my life...is the people around me. Particularly those I work with and inspire me to keep questioning what I do and why.
I’m most proud...of having achieved so much more than I initially thought was possible.
My greatest achievement...is instilling my love of learning and passion to succeed in what I set out to do in my own children.
In the future I’d like to...undertake community work which will support those young (or not so young) people who have not had the advantage of a solid education and family support to achieve their dreams.
The best piece of advice I ever received... “The harder you work, the luckier you get”.
If I could do it all again...I would do it with more confidence.
One last thing…never give up!