According to final year Bachelor of Nursing student Fiona Bauld, the timing will never be perfect for a parent to take up studying for a university degree.

 Fiona, like most parents studying at University, has had to make sacrifices and juggle family life and her studies. But she still counts herself lucky due to the support from family, fellow students and College of Health and Medicine staff and lecturers at the University of Tasmania.  

“The day I was supposed to start my first-year practical placement, was the same date I was due to have my daughter Izzy, so I had to defer my studies.

"I took six months off in 2015 and they gave me an alternative pathway to come back the following year. It worked out a lot better for me,” said Fiona.

Fiona Bauld (second from right) with fellow Nursing students.

Surrounded by fellow parents

Fiona said she was pleasantly surprised that she was surrounded by people who were in a similar situation.

“I was expecting people straight out of college, but if anything the mature students are the majority of people in my classes,” she said. 

“They have jobs, kids, grandkids, so there is that common ground. I was not unique and everyone helped to carry you through. Everyone’s really supportive of each other because we have the common goal of graduating.

“The lecturers are pretty flexible as it only takes an email as they know how hard it is, as they have been through similar situations themselves at some point.”

Time management is your friend

“I really enjoy the coursework.

“Having a child, especially with practical work, is hard because it is full-time shift work for six weeks so it is the logistics. She is in day-care one day, with her dad the other, my mother-in-law the day after that, so it takes a lot of organising.

“I find that I come out to uni quite a lot overnight, when my husband gets home and it is the time management that is really critical on getting things done.

“It takes a village to help out and I am very lucky to have that support.”

Advice from Fiona

“My inspiration was that I will be working till I am 65, so a three-year sacrifice to get a University qualification is really a drop in the ocean.

“I wanted a job that was going to have flexible working hours. It is never a perfect time to do it but you just make it work. I am glad I did what I did.”

Find out more about the Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Tasmania.