JENNY Fawcett embarked upon further tertiary study in her late 40s for a better chance of getting a good job — and to show her children not give up when the going got tough.
Mrs Fawcett, of Warrnambool, had to give up her job and sell the family home when her husband fell ill and was unable to work more than four years ago.
While being a full-time carer for her husband, she is doing an associate degree in arts, business and sciences with a major in journalism, a minor in public relations and minor in business at Deakin University.
Her hopes to complete her studies by the middle of next year were thrown a lifeline this week when she was awarded the Rotary Club of Warrnambool’s 2014 Rotary Deakin Student Award.
The award gives Mrs Fawcett $1000 to help her meet her study costs.
“As a full-time carer and with a family to support it is always a struggle to find money for books, travel and student necessities,” Mrs Fawcett said.
“With the government saying it will cut the $31.50 per week financial study support for carers, I was worried if I could still afford to study. This award gives me breathing space over the next 12 months to keep going.”
Mrs Fawcett said studying at university level was one of the biggest challenges of her life “but it has been the best thing I have ever done”.
After leaving school at 16 in 1980, she worked full-time and studied nights at South West TAFE to complete an administration course before raising a family, working and continuing studies in hospitality, business administration and web design.
After gaining a dual diploma in business and business management (HR), she was encouraged by TAFE staff to broaden her studies through Deakin University.
In 2011 she successfully applied to study in the associate degree in arts, business and sciences through the Deakin At Your Doorstep pathway and has since excelled in her journalism studies, prompting her faculty to nominate her for the award.
Mrs Fawcett said the Deakin experience had changed her mind about the benefits of university.
“I was worried that going to university meant I would have to change who I am, that it would try and change my beliefs and values, but it’s not like that.
“You are encouraged to be the best at what you want to do, and you can just be yourself.”