'I wanted to do something that would make a difference in the world...'
Speech-Language Therapist, Canterbury District Health Board, Older Persons Health and Rehabilitation, Burwood Hospital
Returning to university 15 years after initially graduating, Rebecca looked forward to her chance at carrying out meaningful postgraduate study. ‘I wanted to do something that would make a difference in the world and something which I could feel proud of and which my children could feel proud of,’ she says.
Rebecca had spent several years living overseas in Japan and the UK, and had since started a family with three children. After moving back to New Zealand and wanting a new and more fulfilling career change, it was suggested that she look into Speech and language Pathology at UC.
‘I needed to fulfil some prerequisites, so I completed an anatomy and physiology course online through the University of Iowa and a UC summer school Linguistics course (LING 101). These papers were a good introduction to the course and a useful reintroduction to studying.’
It has been well worth the extra effort for Rebecca, who found Speech and Language Pathology to be a newfound passion and exactly what she needed.
‘Going back to studying gave me a new direction and a feeling of purpose,’ she says. ‘I found it is a totally different experience to when I was doing my undergraduate degree straight out of high school. For me, there was more meaning behind studying second time around and more incentive to work hard and succeed. I enjoyed the close knit year group that we had and the support I gained from them.’
With her previous experiences in primary education studies, Rebecca found it an easy and enjoyable transition to working with patients with communication disorders.
‘I loved the practical experiences I had during the course of my study. Meeting and working with people from different ages and backgrounds has been interesting and I have learnt a lot from them.
‘Going into this degree, I had thought I would be looking for a job working with children, however, having had some involvement now working with older people, I have found this is an area which I also enjoy.’
As such, after graduating Rebecca landed a Speech-Language Therapist role with the Older Persons Health and Rehabilitation department at Burwood Hospital.
She is especially thankful for the support she has been given that has made this new phase possible.
‘I was lucky in going back to study, in that I had very supportive family and friends who were sometimes called upon to help out with childcare,’ she says. ‘Juggling family and study is not easy but I feel that the benefits to the whole family are worth it. My children are seeing their mother working hard and succeeding in a bid to improve all our lives and what better lesson for them to learn?’