Focusing on the long term pays off

The drive to succeed and “just keep going” kept Open Polytechnic Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil Engineering) graduate, Stephanie Browning, motivated as she juggled finishing her degree on top of full time work, getting married and having a baby.

“It took six and half years, and I was always busy, but I just kept thinking of the long term outcomes and this kept me going”.

Balancing work and study

Stephanie always knew she wanted to get her qualification straight out of high school, but with no university based in her home town, Whangarei, Stephanie decided to seek work with a local  engineering firm.  Having found a job that would support her with her studies; she enrolled with the Open Polytechnic majoring in civil engineering.

Distance learning meant Stephanie was able to work full time at the engineering firm while completing her degree part time.

“I was able to fit my study in with my work. I would do most of my study in the weekends or after work. It helped being able to study in my own time so I could take a day off if I needed to.”

Stephanie found the Open Polytechnic library service a great resource to support study from home.

“Books arrived quickly and they would send out courier packages to send the books back so I didn’t need to leave the house.”

Stephanie found the courses most relevant to her job in road design, particularly interesting and helpful.

Study journey

Taking a break from full-time work when she had her first child, Stephanie was still able to fit her studies around her home life.

Her journey to complete her degree was not always an easy one with some tough times along the way, including completing her last exams while juggling being a new mother to her then six week old baby.  But she says her studies have made her a motivated person both professionally and personally.

“You have to get your act together to make time and get on and do it. When I was always busy I would just remind myself that this wasn’t forever, I would tell myself ‘once the work is done the qualification is yours for life’.”

“It helped that I also enjoyed the study.”

Having graduated with her degree, Stephanie is now doing part time engineering contract work from home so she can look after her son. When her son is a bit older she hopes to get back into full time work and would like to join TheInstitution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ)



I was able to fit my study in with my work. I would do most of my study in the weekends or after work.