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New baby, new career

In the middle of Teaching Period 2, Swinburne Online student Gabrielle Griffiths had her first baby. Although her newborn, Riley, demanded the majority of her time, Gabrielle still managed to finish her studies with a High Distinction by planning ahead.

“I knew when Riley was expected to arrive, so tried to get ahead in my course readings given I would be out of action for at least a couple weeks,” she says.

“The hardest part was completing the assignments which required hours of research, planning and writing.  The trick is not to procrastinate and get started as soon as possible, that way you can attack it in manageable chunks without panicking over the due date.”

Gabrielle says adjusting to the new role of a full-time mum while finding time to study was very demanding but has managed to stay on top of her assignments.

“I underestimated the demands of my little one and the effect endless, sleepless nights had on my ability to study.  However, I believe that motivation, dedication and effective time management were the skills which got me through,” she says.

“A lot of my study is done late at night when the house is quiet. With a newborn it would be impossible to commit to classes outside the home. The flexibility of online study has brought a world of opportunities to my doorstep.”

After completing a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University and working in IT for 12 years, Gabrielle commenced studying a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Psychology) as a backup to her IT career.

“Psychology has interested me for quite a while and I’m excited about the opportunity to help people. I’m really looking forward to completing the core units so that I can get started on the psychology topics which are what I’m really interested in.

“I chose Swinburne Online because of Swinburne’s excellent reputation and the courses that were offered but the ability to study whenever I want, has been my saviour.”

The Mitcham resident says studying online takes a great deal of self-discipline but her eLearning Advisers (eLAs) have been a source of motivation throughout her course.

“Online study requires a high degree of self-motivation and autonomous learning.  You can contribute as little or as much as you want during the Teaching Period, but your final marks will reflect your effort.

“The eLAs are the most motivated and inspirational people I’ve come across and have helped me be successful. To be an effective online learner you have to want to achieve deep learning and be prepared to do whatever it takes to reach your academic goals.”

Gabrielle is currently studying one unit each Teaching Period and hopes to take on more in the future when Riley is a little older.