What did you study at undergraduate and postgraduate level and when did you graduate? What are you studying now (if applicable)? Are you studying and working at the same time?
I studied Education at an undergraduate level at the Queensland University of Technology because I always knew I wanted to go to university but wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do. I thought teaching would suit my interests and offer me a career with some flexibility. I realised I wasn't suited to teaching during my studies but completed them anyway, going on to work in jobs which had an education element but weren't strictly teaching. After I had children I wanted a career change and decided to complete a Masters in Human Nutrition through Deakin University. This meant I could study online while at home with my children and (I hoped) would offer some flexible work options once completed.
Please list the most important stages of your life (school, education, experience abroad, jobs etc.)
I completed school in 2000 and had a gap year before starting university studies in 2002. I graduated from university in 2007 and worked in Before and After School Care for many years in both Brisbane and Melbourne, moving around a lot with my husband's work. I also worked for a children's charity and a childcare software company before having children and taking some time off work. The birth of my children changed my outlook on work and career and prompted me to look for an option where I could still spend as much time with my children as possible.
How did you get to your current (or most recent) job position and for how long have you occupied it (if applicable)?
I'm currently working as a Nutritionist and Freelance Copywriter and have been doing this for the past 12 months.
What made you decide to progress with further study?
I was unable to find part-time work that suited my family so hoped further study would offer me more job prospects with flexible hours. I was interested in nutrition after starting solids with my eldest child and wanted to be able to learn as much as I could about the subject and be able to determine food fact from fiction.
How did you choose your particular further study course (compared to others)? / Were you weighing up any alternative degrees or career pathways before choosing this qualification?
I chose a Masters course which I could complete online, and one that didn't require a nutrition undergraduate qualification. When narrowing down the course selection to meet these requirements, there weren't very many to chose from. I didn't really think about any other career pathways as this really interested me at the time but I now wish I had studied writing instead which had always been a huge passion of mine.
What was the process to get accepted into your course? What were the prerequisites?
For my Masters course, the only prerequisite was having an undergraduate degree in any discipline. I applied for the course online and was accepted fairly quickly after that, with no great application process to do through. It was very quick and easy and I didn't face any issues with this.
What does your study involve? Can you describe a typical day? (if it’s difficult to describe a typical day, tell us about the last thing you worked on?)
During my Masters I studied mostly during my son's nap time in the middle of the day. I completed assignments mostly on the weekends but I was often multi-tasking. After a few months of study I enrolled my son in daycare for one day per week and this helped immensely with keeping on top of tasks.
Will this course be beneficial in your career? Where could you or others in your position go from here? Please explain your answer.
Yes, this course will be beneficial for me as a nutritionist. Once completed, you can work at hospitals alongside dieticians, consult for large organisations or go into private practice. I chose to go into private practice so I help people achieve their nutrition and weight loss goals at a time and place that suits them.
What do you love the most about your course?
I loved learning online because I am very self-directed and work best on my own. I loved learning about sports nutrition and having access to some amazing professors and tutors who were very knowledgable about nutrition and the body. I also loved being able to pick subjects that appealed to me.
What are the limitations of your course?
Studying online is not for everyone and it was sometimes difficult to keep on track if I had a holiday or was sick during the semester. I also found there wasn't a lot of support in preparing us for working in the real world once the degree was complete - more practical skills would have been useful.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current undergraduate student? They don’t necessarily have to be related to your studies, or even to one’s professional life.