Study dream fulfilled

Study dream fulfilled

Emma Jeffery
  • Operations manager

Aucklander Emma Jeffery’s long-held ambition of receiving a tertiary education is now complete after graduating from Open Polytechnic with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Communication).

Walking across the stage in front of friends and family at her graduation ceremony was a proud moment for Emma who says she was ‘stoked’ to have achieved her goal of graduating with a tertiary qualification.

“I feel like I have come a long way and I have learnt a lot,” she says. “I have learnt how to really apply myself to something. I now truly appreciate the level of commitment it takes to study and what you get out of it.”

Emma says she was quite academic at secondary school and always thought she would go on to tertiary study. However, a muddle-up with her subjects in sixth form led her to leave school early.

Making her move

A previous boss and mentor of Emma’s began training in personal and professional coaching. He offered her an opportunity to take part in a coaching cycle and it was through this process that she made the decision to return to study.

“I always enjoyed school and I enjoyed learning,” she says. “I began studying through my local polytechnic but after my work commitments increased I decided it was going to be too difficult to continue through them.

“I decided to have a go at distance learning through another provider, it didn’t quite hit the mark. The classes weren’t allowing me the flexibility to learn in the areas that I wanted to learn in. I knew exactly what I wanted to train in and what I wanted to learn.

“One day I was Googling courses and the Open Polytechnic came up. Looking at the course content it was as if a lightbulb went off. The programme I signed-up for, the Bachelor of Applied Science (Communication), was exactly what I was looking for. I jumped on straight away and went through the enrolment process.”

The Bachelor of Applied Science (Communication) gives graduates the skills to work in a wide variety of communication-focused roles. As the Operations Manager for a lifting, rigging and height safety equipment company, Emma says communication is a crucial part of her role.

“Good communication is still undervalued in New Zealand,” she says. “There is often a ‘she’ll be right’ sort of attitude, but good communication is a science that is really important to success in any organisation. To have a course like the Open Polytechnic has is perfect.”

New skills a game changer

Emma says she uses everything that she learnt during her studies on a day to day basis and it has opened up many opportunities for her future.

“Even as I was studying I was able to apply what I was learning to what was going on in my workplace,” she says. “People often think that study and work are two separate things. But if you work things the right way then you can integrate them quite nicely.

“My work was supportive of me studying and it was mutually beneficial. While I was studying we were undergoing a number of big projects at work. I used some of these as case-studies for assignments and that helped to ‘kill two birds with one stone’.”

The thinking process that study generates makes you step back and really think, Emma says. “Studying has helped to develop my critical thinking. You don’t just shoot from the hip and go with your first instinct. It really encourages you to look in different places for answers.”

Asked what advice she would give to anybody considering studying towards a Bachelor of Applied Science (Communication), Emma says ‘enrol’. “Do it now! You get so much out of it, it’s really rewarding. It is a great qualification for anybody wanting to work in organisational communication.

Geared towards distance learning

Because Open Polytechnic is the country’s leading online and distance education provider Emma says she felt well supported. “It was awesome, you feel like you really matter as a student. As a distance learner, Open Polytechnic is geared directly towards you and your needs.”

“Everybody was always happy to help and give me the support I needed. It’s a big commitment when you are doing two or three papers a trimester and working full time. It took a lot of planning and a lot of coffee.”

Emma says her family is very proud of her and what she has achieved. “They are all pretty excited about my graduation day and having a glass of bubbles afterwards to celebrate.”

Even as I was studying I was able to apply what I was learning to what was going on in my workplace.