- Diploma in Communication Studies (Level 5)
- Waikato- Tainui
Tiana Samasoni’s (Waikato- Tainui) study journey with the Open Polytechnic, New Zealand’s distance learning specialist, started seven years ago, spanned the births of her three sons, has seen her grow her own business, travel and take on new challenges, all while working towards achieving her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Communication.
Tiana says studying with the Open Polytechnic has meant she can live her life and achieve her professional goals.
“I decided to take up tertiary study in 2007 when I was pregnant with my first child. I had planned to be on maternity leave for 12 months and wanted to utilise any spare time at home while with baby, by working towards a qualification,” explains Tiana.
“I had originally enrolled at a university in mid-2007 to complete a Bachelor of Education. The semester began in January 2008 and I was due to have my son in December 2007. I was eager to start studying and thought I'd be able to place my baby in the university daycare once he was born. However, once I gave birth, I knew I didn't have the heart to place my newborn in daycare so university classes would not work for me.”
A family journey
After seeing her husband work towards his own qualification, a National Diploma in Architectural Technology, through the Open Polytechnic, Tiana decided to investigate what other qualifications the Open Polytechnic offered.
“I already had exposure to the Open Polytechnic study materials and the online forums and my decision to not place my baby in daycare meant I needed a tertiary institute that allowed me to learn when and where I wanted.”
Initially, Tiana completed a certificate in Introduction to Accounting (level 4). She then went on to complete a Diploma in Communication Studies. When she was nearing the end of her Diploma, Tiana decided to staircase into a degree.
“I originally thought I'd only complete a diploma and when I saw the end near, I began to explore furthering my education. I realised that I could easily step into a degree by using my already gained courses to gain a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Communications.”
Tiana celebrated her graduation in Wellington this year, surrounded by her family.
Fitting it all in
Initially Tiana wasn’t sure how she was going to juggle looking after a newborn when she first started studying with the Open Polytechnic, but was able to do it not once, but three times over the past seven years.
“I was initially terrified at the thought of juggling a newborn with study however, in the beginning it was easy. I studied when baby slept, so I managed to get quite a lot done when he was younger. When my family grew to two boys, I would cram in study throughout the day when I could, but most times, I would have to stay up late - which didn't bother me as I knew I was getting a lot done and enjoyed the quiet time to myself. By the time baby number three came along, my two older boys were off to school and I had time to study while my baby slept. It was like a cycle that has now become second nature to our entire family,” Tiana explains.
“One of benefits of studying from home was my experience of actually having two babies mid-way through semesters. I remember doing one assignment when my contractions started with my second son. Whilst breathing through my contractions I managed to complete my assignment - thankfully, I was on the final stages of my assignment but thinking back, it was a great distraction. The pressure of completing my assignment took my mind off the contractions - two hours after I submitted my assignment, my husband and I welcomed our second son. My third son was born before my final assignment was due so, a few days after giving birth, I was back at my lap top studying and finishing my assignment.”
Tiana says achieving her qualifications has given her an overall confidence boost.
“While studying, I learnt so much about various topics which I was then able to share. I was informed and knew what I was talking about, all thanks to the research involved in my various assignments,” she says.
“When I began studying, I was a newlywed with a baby on the way. By the time my degree was completed, I was still happily married but now a mum to three boisterous boys, travelled with the family and the proud owner of five houses in Auckland all managed by me. Life doesn't need to stop when you're studying and the Open Polytechnic has allowed me to have the best of everything. I've really enjoyed my experience with the Open Polytechnic and wouldn't change a thing.”
Tiana’s advice for anyone considering study is to “just do it”.
“I understand that many people can think of so many reasons not to study, such as the high costs, juggling kids or work. But there are so many reasons to take up study- the pride one feels during graduation and the confidence in sharing your qualifications and experience are all works to be proud of.”