Study, ski, study repeat

Mount Buller is the busiest ski resort in Victoria being just over 200 kilometres outside Melbourne. Although the town itself has a population of around 300, the resort gets over a quarter million visitors a year – making the life of Events Manager Katie Bowker rather unpredictable.

This exhilarating, demanding and sometimes chaotic lifestyle is one of the reasons Katie decided to start studying online. And she’s now over a year half into a Bachelor of Business (Marketing).

“Before I started I didn’t really have any idea how it would work, and what challenges it would present. I think now that it is amazing.

“It gives regional and rural people a chance to follow their ambitions, and provides a great way to study at your own pace.

“I never completed Uni when I was younger, so am now keen to do this just for myself.”

After completing an Advanced Diploma in Tourism, Katie was able to gain credits towards her marketing degree. She says she has been able to gain support offline and online.

“I am absolutely loving the degree, and the range of learning opportunities. The highlight has been making friends online to support me, and interacting with engaging eLearning Advisers (eLAs).

“My family is fantastically supportive, I have two best e-study buddies (shout out to Leonie and Jade), and my boss is unreal.”

But Katie admits that while there have been many highlights studying online and working, there have also been challenges, and said time management is vital in order to succeed.

“I think the most important part of online learning is to be organised, and prepared well in advanced. Meeting other supportive students who are prepared to help out at any time also makes a big difference. I have a timetable I work to, and try not to vary too much.”

Katie is one of the luck few that loves her job in events but hopes to expand her skills and responsibilities and possibly become a source of inspiration for future online students.

“When I finish my degree, I’m hoping that I will be able to expand my role within my organisation, but also set myself for the future, so I have a greater range of options available to me.

“I may also consider starting my own business. Eventually I would really like to join Swinburne and become an eLA!”

And what advice does Katie have for the Swinburne Online student community?

“Be prepared to make some sacrifices. Make sure your family and friends understand and support you. Take every opportunity to be involved, interact with eLAs and other students.”