Wanting the confidence to challenge herself and a career to provide for her children, Ann Tapara began her journey with a Bachelor of Applied Science through distance learning at Open Polytechnic, laying the foundation to later gaining a Masters degree and becoming a fully registered clinical psychologist.
Taking small steps
Ann wanted to progress her abilities and confidence gradually and in her own time, setting herself the goal of becoming a fully registered clinical psychologist, she let nothing stand in her way of achieving this.
Ann says when she first decided to enrol in tertiary study, she didn’t feel confident enough to attend classes at her local university. “It was simply too intimidating at that early point in my study,” she explains.
Ann decided to gain confidence and judge her ability by taking small steps. She began with a Certificate in Vocational and Personal Development through Open Polytechnic, which had a mentor visiting her at home for support. “I knew this would be an immense support due to my lack of confidence.”
After completing her certificate, Ann decided to focus on her passion for mental health by first enrolling in a Diploma in Applied Mental Health with Open Polytechnic, and later progressing on to her degree studies.
“I decided to complete the degree programme because by that time my confidence in my abilities had improved, and I had faith that I could move on to university to gain entry into the clinical psychology programme afterwards.”
After finishing the Bachelor of Applied Science (Psychology) at Open Polytechnic, she was accepted into post-graduate qualifications at university enabling her to become a fully registered clinical psychologist.
Ann says, “I did well at university and I attribute this to the skills developed during distance study with Open Polytechnic, providing me with the foundation for my subsequent study pathway and current employment.” Ann now works as a clinical psychologist, assisting clients of a government department.
Ann believes that the support she received from her lecturers at Open Polytechnic was instrumental in boosting her confidence and determination to continue studying further.
“The support from staff was excellent. The supportive comments of my lecturers were the force that developed my confidence to get this far and push even further. Study with Open Polytechnic laid the foundation for everything that came after it, including the confidence necessary to succeed after Open Polytechnic.”
Having freedom and flexibility
During her four years of study at Open Polytechnic, Ann had three children. Being a stay at home mother with young children and only one car in her household, Ann needed her studies to work around her lifestyle.
“The flexibility that comes with studying by distance was great. I was able to take time off to have children. I would study at 5 am before they woke up, during their naps, late at night. I didn’t have the cost or time burden of travel and daycare. I was able to study in a place I felt comfortable and at my own pace. I was able to read ahead to allow a buffer to things such as illness or holidays.”
Ann is keen to encourage others with a dream of tertiary education to give it a go. “Don’t worry if you don’t have the confidence to study or if you feel like you can’t make it, just give it a try! You don’t have to have the confidence to do the work…you just have to do it. If you are confused or overwhelmed, reach out for help earlier rather than later because staff at Open Polytechnic really do want you to succeed!”