After 18 years as a science teacher, it was inevitable that Pharmacy student Kevin Welch would take on something of a mentoring role to his fellow students when he returned to University.

I’m in my third year now and I love it. It’s a great team. The younger students always ask me questions. They think of me like a dad I guess. And I can chin- wag with the lecturers because many of them are around my age.

“I help my fellow students to use the microscope, things like that.”

Kevin completed his first degree at the University of Tasmania, a Bachelor of Science, in 1988, following this with a Diploma in Education in 1995.

“With people of my age group, we’re not going to be able to retire soon, I’ll probably be working for the next 20 years. 

“I wanted to make a new career choice. It was time for me to make a change. 

“I’d always had an interest in medicines, and having a science background, I thought ‘I could be a pharmacist.’ I also got some credit for my Science degree.

"I love UTAS. I’m having a great time. I enjoyed it from the start."

“As a mature age student, you know more, but you remember less. You’ve got to remember a lot but at least you know more to begin with. The young guys, they remember so much!"

Kevin has taken to the life of a modern student like a duck to water.

“The changes in technology mean it’s a completely different ball game to when I studied 20 years ago. Everything is done on computers now. Everything can be accessed electronically. There’s much more information given to you in lectures because of PowerPoint slides, notes and online material. 

You can do a lot of work and study via the internet which means that learning is far more flexible, so that other commitments like part time work or family don’t have to suffer. The lecturers are great, the electronic communication is great, you can get in touch with them straight away; it’s very professional.

"There’s lot of support networks that are provided, especially in first year. I really appreciated that. Whether it’s writing exams, studying or subject-specific issues, there’s just help on every level.

“I found it very nurturing; a lot more nurturing than it used to be. Especially in Pharmacy. They are committed to getting you through and to supporting you as much as possible. I’m enjoying my time on campus.

I can’t speak highly enough of Pharmacy and their support and mentoring, friendliness and willingness to help, and their patience.

Kevin said when he shared his decision to go back to Uni with his family and friends, they were “very excited and very supportive.”

“They thought it was great. They said they could see me as a pharmacist.

These days you can get your degree when you’re younger and then go back later and build upon it, like I did. You can do something else.

“You’ve got to make the most of it, and work hard. It’s not just about passing and getting through. I’m really looking forward to a career in Pharmacy and I want to be the best pharmacist I can be.

“At present I am doing very well with my results and I trust that I will keep achieving at my present level.

And if Kevin needs to share study tips, he can chat with his son, who is also studying.

“He’s doing his music degree at the moment. After exams we were relaxing and playing some music together. So there’s two new degrees underway in the household."