26 May 2014
After helping her husband run their busy strawberry and ginger farm while raising four young children, 31-year-old Tamara Spackman decided to nurture new growth in her career through the University of the Sunshine Coast.
“I hadn’t studied in 10 years and strawberry picking seasons were hectic but when my youngest was in prep, my dream was to become a midwife,” she said.
The Palmwoods resident enrolled in Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) at USC, a program that equips adults of all ages with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in an undergraduate degree. Courses range from computer literacy to basic chemistry.
“I do things intensely so I finished three TPP subjects in a summer semester and got into Nursing in 2013,” Ms Spackman said. “This year I enrolled in USC’s double degree in Nursing Science and Midwifery and I love it.”
With her children now aged between 6 and 10 and the farm focused on a single ginger crop, the Nambour State High School graduate said she had more time to juggle studies and more confidence in her ability to learn.
“USC is amazing. Everyone is so encouraging. I thought it would be really competitive but the students support each other,” she said.
“The tutors are so helpful. If you’ve got a dream, they do whatever they can to help you achieve that.”
She said she had relied heavily on the academic and other skills gained during the TPP program (which is generally free for Commonwealth-funded students).
“TPP was phenomenal for helping me learn all about uni, how to find my way around the library, how to reference assignments,” she said.
Ms Spackman said she hoped local projects such as the new Sunshine Coast Public University Hospital would expand opportunities in health professions.
“I had such brilliant pregnancies and births and I want to give other women the best experiences they can have, in whatever environment they choose, supported by empowering women,” she said.
– Julie Schomberg