For Diploma in Child and Adolescent Psychology student, Tia Minnoch, online interaction with fellow students, fantastic support from lecturers and the ability to fit in study when and where it suits her is why she is studying through the Open Polytechnic.
Choosing the right option
The busy mum of two, who works as a registered nurse, is a singer and music teacher, says that finding a study option that fitted in with her busy lifestyle was one of the most important aspects when it came to the decision to work towards another qualification that would help her gain new skills
“I got my nursing degree in 1996 and although I have completed other courses to develop skills, I had not done any formal undergraduate study since then. I felt it was time to commit to this. It was the right opportunity and time in my life and career, but also the right kind of course became available in a way that meant I could study while working,” Tia explains.
“It fits in with other important priorities I have. There is a virtual classroom where you can connect with other students and there is fantastic support from lecturers. It really doesn't feel like you are alone at all. I also like being able to log-in remotely, pick up the study at a time of day or night that works for me, and continually make progress at a pace that is reasonable, given my lifestyle and other commitments. It is an excellent option and the resources available are fantastic.”
Half way through her diploma, Tia, who works in youth health, says she decided to select the diploma because it would strengthen her practical knowledge, allowing for more critical thinking, assessment and data gathering, and adds to the resources of skills she has acquired over the years.
Applying her study to the workplace
“In my current role we have quite specialist assessments that are relevant to young people and some of the courses that I’ve done so far have been really useful in being able to see things from a slightly different lens,” Tia explains.
“Some of the things that I have found particularly helpful are learning about specific assessment frameworks and that’s really important with working with young people. I found things like the counselling and the understanding of general pathology and other aspects of child and adolescent psychology have been really useful so far.”
With family support, Tia has been able meet her study goals, even when she has faced stumbling blocks.
“I had to realistically assess what time I do have, first and foremost, and then decide how many courses I can complete per trimester. I am completing one course per trimester, towards a diploma, so most of my study, 10 to12 hours a week, is scattered over the evenings and on weekends,” Tia explains.
“I found it important to voice my concerns about meeting my study deadlines, and then getting some help with that, either through the people I live with, setting up a study schedule visible to others so they know what my goal is, or making plans to "escape" for a while and just focus on getting the work done. I find that it is achievable and though the invitation to have an extension is there, I have never yet had to request one.”
Tia’s advice for anyone who is considering undertaking study is to go for it, to set a realistic time line and enjoy the process.
“The benefits so far, are more personal. Studying has given me a sense of achievement and pride, to know that completing course after course, while working and parenting, can be achieved. Professionally, when I'm finished, I will also be able to utilise my learning into my role. I will probably review whether I want to pursue a degree in psychology or use the diploma for credits towards something that would help progress my passions or my career.”