Taking the Time to Study

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Studying with the Open Polytechnic ignited Marie Austin’s passion for learning, now a qualified Legal Executive after completing the New Zealand Law Society Legal Executive Diploma, she is looking forward to developing her career further.

“My future ambitions are to become more knowledgeable in my field and to build up a client base that trusts me. It may be that that involves more study through the Open Polytechnic, and I would have no hesitation,” Marie explains.

Working in another field when she first began study, Marie is now a registered legal executive at Knapps Lawyers in Nelson, and says she loves her new career.

Having always had an interest in law and the legal system, Marie says life unfortunately got in the way when she was younger and tertiary study was not possible at that time.

“I got to the point where I needed some mental stimulation and to do something that would give me a more interesting future and a career,” Marie explains.

“I had no experience with tertiary learning or any higher learning. But I was confident with my ability and the desire to set an example for my four sons that if you set your mind to something, and put in the hard work, you will succeed.”

Studying by distance learning with the Open Polytechnic meant Marie could fit study in around her lifestyle and children, as well as her part-time job at a childcare centre.

“The flexibility of the Open Polytechnic meant it was the perfect fit for my family. I would fit study around school runs, Saturday sport and my part-time job.”

Marie would fit her study in mainly while her children were having an afternoon nap and at night, once they went to bed.

“I tried to schedule study into my daily weekday routine so the weekends were free for family time. Although coming up to the end of the year exams I would study constantly. My husband was really supportive and would take the boys out so I could have peace and quiet!”

After finishing her qualification, Marie was able to find a legal executive position immediately.

“If it wasn’t for the legal executive diploma, I wouldn’t be in the job I am in now. I was very fortunate that Knapps Lawyers advertised for a legal executive just as I found out my results for my last exam,” she says.

“The Estate Law and Practice course was very helpful to what I am doing now, and I find what I learnt in that course is particularly helpful to me in my job.”

Marie says she found her lecturers very helpful.

“They were all very approachable, whenever I had an issue understanding a legal concept they were only an email or a phone call away, they were very quick to reply.  I liked the fact that when I did have a question they never told me the answer but gently steered my in the right direction to work out the answer myself,” says Marie.

“The course materials were very clear and easy to navigate they were set out in a way which was easy to understand. The modules within each course made each topic easier to understand and to set goals.”

Marie’s message for prospective students is to give study a go.

“Just do it, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s a real sense of achievement when you set your mind to something and all your hard work brings it to fruition, keep the end goal in sight.”


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