For the past several years, Swinburne Online student Karen Heenan has tried to juggle raising a large family of five children with that of finding the time to study.
But after chipping away at a degree in health sciences, Karen realised it wasn’t for her and decided to pursue a Bachelor of Social Science (Criminology and Forensic Science).
“I found that the coursework in health sciences was not meeting my study interests so decided to enrol in a couple of criminology units and loved the coursework,’ Karen says.
“I then took a leap of faith and applied for a place in Swinburne Online’s criminology degree. It was the best decision I could have made. I am finding myself handing in assessments ahead of time – something that I have never experienced before.”
The 36 year-old full time mother started her family early but never lost sight of her goal to complete her tertiary education.
“For many of us, life does not always go as planned. I started my family young, so I was unable to complete University after finishing Year 12. Nevertheless, over the years, I continued to relentlessly persevere with my studies in unison with my role as a full-time mother to five wonderful children.
“Although it has been a long journey, after the current teaching period, I am only two units away from graduation. With my youngest of five children starting school this year, I can now focus on completing my studies. My story is testament that; ‘if you can dream it, you can achieve it’.”
The Alice Springs resident has found online study to be an ideal way to complete a university degree whilst continuing with her work and family commitments.
“I can complete my studies at home whilst tending to my young children. Likewise, with all of the study materials available online, everything that I need to succeed is at my fingertips. There is simply no easier way to learn.”
Through her experience, Karen has found the network of online support has not only helped her succeed in her studies but also made her more self-motivated.
“Studying online really does require a great deal of dedication. You need to learn to be your own self-motivator. But, the collaborative nature of the coursework has helped with that as it ensures you do not feel isolated in your studies and this is a vital component when you are studying fully online.”
“I also enjoy helping my peers with their queries and likewise, I embrace the sense of accomplishment I feel when I am thanked for my efforts.”
Karen hopes to graduate in June 2014 after completing her final units and has become so passionate about learning that she hopes to continue on to postgraduate studies.
“Ideally, I will be seeking professional placement within the Department of Correctional Services, which will enable me to work towards a Master’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, whilst also providing me with vital hands on experience specifically relating to rehabilitating offenders.”