'DRS without a doubt has helped me to achieve my goals of getting a degree...'
Studying towards a Bachelor of Social Work
Annette hadn’t originally planned to go to onto university study, but was inspired after attending her eldest son’s UC graduation ceremony.
‘At the ceremony I watched all these mature students walk across the stage, and I thought “if only I could do something like that”. I said to my son afterwards, and he said there is no reason why you can’t mum. For me I thought of many reasons not to. In 2012, with a back injury, a mother dying and a failing marriage I decided to take that leap of faith that maybe I could.
‘I entered into a Polytechnic course at the beginning of 2013 as I thought if I failed then it wouldn’t be so much of an issue. However, I passed with a B+ average in a year of heartaches, so where to then? My eldest son said Canterbury, and I wasn’t so sure. University has exams and the doubt seeped in that I would fail there. Anyway, I took a deep breath and applied.’
Having lived with dyslexia, Annette made the most of support services on offer at UC to overcome the initial academic hurdle.
‘My most support has come from the team at the Disability Resources Service from whom Nicola has been a constant support for all my learning needs. I have a note taker in all of my lectures and when I’ve sat exams I have had a reader/writer and extra time. This service without a doubt has helped me to achieve my goals of getting a degree.'
As such, she has since found her place at UC, and enjoys ‘everything’ about being a part of the community here.
‘I’ve discovered Annette,’ she says. ‘It has been my new start after the end of a 25 year marriage. My classmates are around the age of my children, yet they have embraced me and I’ve been invited to all the activities the UC students get to go to.
‘I have been to a few events at UC, the last one being the Pride dance party at the Foundry which was a fantastic night.’
Choosing to pursue a Bachelor of Social Work, after her Human Services study at Ara, she soon found her passion towards a new career path.
‘I love the team within the Social Work department, from Denise in the office to the lecturers always willing to help, no question is too big or small. They are a supportive team that looks out for their students and when life throws you a curve ball they are only too willing to help as I have learnt over my 3 years.’
As she nears the end of her Social Work degree, Annette is looking forward to going on job placements soon to get an idea of the specific direction her career will take.
‘Once I finish my degree I’m hoping to find full time employment as a Social Worker,’ she says. ‘I am interested in elderly healthcare, however I do have a passion around our military, and as I was a wife of a soldier for over 25 years, I feel there is a need to support families in that environment.’
Having gained so much from doing university study, Annette strongly persuades other adult students to consider the same journey.
‘I would be lying if I said university was easy. However, I have discovered so much about me, society, different perspectives on life and found a love of gaining knowledge that I’ve never known. I look at things differently now. When others are looking towards retirement I am looking forward to a career full of new beginnings,’ she says.
‘I would like to encourage other mature students to make that leap of faith as I have. The University of Canterbury has made all my hopes and dreams achievable. So from this once dyslexic minimum-wage earner to this B+ and above student, I hope you take the plunge. It is well worth finding the new you.’