Mature student Stacey Gordon shares her story on what drove her to start studying later in life and how she hopes to make a difference through her role in social work.
After working in early childhood education for two years, Stacey decided to start her Bachelor of Social Work (Honours). Now in her third year, she is firmly on a path to building a successful career helping those who need it most.
“It was hard working in childcare, you can only go so far. I knew quickly that I needed to be doing more and I needed to continue that journey with them a little bit further,” she says.
“You know you have the capacity to do it and you know it’s not going to be fun at times and it’s going to be really hard but just pretending that’s not the way it is and going home wasn’t ok with me. I think the biggest privilege from this degree and eventually my career is being able to be with people when they need you the most.”
Stacey started university as a mature aged student, and passes on the following advice to others in her situation:
“I was unsure whether I’d fit in to the cohort – I’m a mum, but I’m a young mum, so I felt like I was going to be stuck between the high school students and the older students and that I wouldn’t find anyone like me in my classes.
“But I made it my goal in those first few weeks to sit with different people every lesson. And through this I realized that it doesn’t matter that I have kids, or what my age is – I’ve made friends with people completely different to me, and that’s great. We’re peers in class, but we are also friends outside of class. We just recently went away on mid-semester break together.
“The people are the best thing about my degree; I wasn’t sure what degree to take, I only knew that I wanted to help people. I might be a bit biased, but I have the best people in my degree, and I learn from them every day. I know we will stay in contact for years to come.”
Along with her student peers, Stacey has found great support from her lecturers and tutors, who help her achieve her best throughout her classes, offering advice and mentoring her on subject choices and different pathways she can take from her degree.
“The lecturers are great, they’re always pushing me out of my comfort zone which I like,” she says.
“You often have the same tutors and lecturers across courses, which has been really helpful because they get to know your strengths and weaknesses, and help you work to both of those. My tutors know that I’m someone who wants to do well academically, but that often means I stick with what I’m comfortable with when choosing assessment topics or electives. Because of that, my tutors regularly push me outside of those comforts to help me become a better student and eventually a better social work professional.”
Stacey says she enjoys the facilities on her campus, from the computer labs to the study areas in the library, but she also enjoys the openness of the campus and the availability of cafes and other places to gather socially.
“My biggest tip for studying on campus is to go for a walk and explore the campus,” she says.
“I make an effort to go to the coffee shop the furthest away from where I am. I go with friends from class so we can walk and talk and go through what we’ve just learnt in class. It’s a great way to hear things from their perspective and share things we each might have missed, but that activity between classes always wakes you up and make you more energised when you get to the next lesson.”
Want to help people? Feel passionate about social justice and human rights? Social work is the right profession for you. Visit our website to find out more about our Social Work degrees.