University Medal recipient celebrates graduation and resets their life course - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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University Medal recipient celebrates graduation and resets their life course

4 May 2021

My name is Hayley Hartland. Straight after high school I went to university for the first time (2001) and completed a design degree at another university in the city. At 20 years of age, I didn’t have the confidence to pursue the job of my dreams and was still unsure what I wanted to do. I worked in sales for a while and then got married and had a family. I worked in hospitality for years but didn’t love it. I knew I had to get out, I needed to find THAT job, THAT career that I loved. I had to set that example for my children, to keep chasing their dreams, at any age. Plus, at the time my eldest was in Grade 5 and if I didn’t start soon, I’d be going to uni with my son. I wouldn’t have minded, but I'm not sure he’d be keen on saying, “Hey Zander, do you want to come and get a coffee with your mum after class?! 

I investigated enrolling at USC because several of my work colleagues were enrolled there and only had good things to say about it. After some research I chose the Creative Industries degree because it allowed me to choose diverse minors and several of my first-year courses were available at the Caboolture campus. Having a young family, commuting into the city for university again just wasn’t an option. 

In my first and second year I was able to arrange my timetable so that I could enrol in courses at both Caboolture and Sunshine Coast campuses. This was the best option for our family and by choosing courses at Caboolture I could attend a couple of lectures/tutorials and pick up my children from school all in the one day. We lived locally and at the time I was working just around the corner from the campus so I could even work and attend uni on the one day if needed. On school holidays there were even a few times where I had to take my children onto campus with me, we’d go into the library and they would keep busy on my laptop while I worked on group assignments with my peers. 

I look back at my time at Caboolture campus very fondly. The library was always well-stocked and a lot quieter than the Sunshine Coast campus, if you didn’t want to drag your laptop around campus there were heaps of computers in the library to work on and for group assessments, we often booked the meeting rooms to rehearse our presentations, everything was just easier. 

On 6 April, after 3 years of full time study between 2 campuses, working part time and looking after our young family I graduated with a Bachelor of Creative Industries and received an Academic Excellence medal. The Caboolture campus is very much family oriented, and I could not have juggled family, work and study at any other university.