Twenty-two years after completing high school and fulfilling her role as a mum to young children' Doreen Canoy made the momentous decision to enrol in CQUniversity's Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) course.
What began as the first rung on the ladder towards developing a career and establishing financial and emotional independence became so much more for Doreen who has since achieved a career as a clinical psychologist and an academic.
In 2004' when contemplating her return to full-time employment after having her children' Doreen was not entirely sure what she wanted to do but she knew she wanted a career and financial freedom.
She had previously completed some online studies' but due to feelings of anxiety' did not complete the final assessment. It was at this time she saw an advertisement for STEPS in the local newspaper which would change her life's direction for the better.
Doreen considers STEPS to be unlike any other type of university study because students learn as much about themselves as they do about their preparation for university.
"The skills and knowledge learnt in STEPS are beneficial not only for those students who articulate to a university degree but also those who gain employment after having been unemployed for a considerable period'"
"University study is not suited to everyone; however' everyone deserves to have purpose and feel valued. These are extremely important goals of STEPS and a strong focus of CQUniversity's drive for community engagement."
In reflecting on her professional achievements over the last 15 years' Doreen is very proud.
She attributes the teaching and wonderful mentorship of the STEPS staff as the impetus for her decision to apply for a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) degree course.
"STEPS gave me the confidence to know my way around campus' to be comfortable in approaching staff' and to feel at home in the library."
When starting out' she believes she was ahead of new undergraduates who had not completed STEPS.
"I'm quite sure that without this wonderful introduction to university I would have felt overwhelmed and most definitely out of my depth."
Eager to convey her firsthand experience of STEPS and how instrumental this course was to her individual' professional and personal growth' Doreen said that watching many others embark on and experience the STEPS journey was what underpinned her Honours thesis.
Doreen successfully completed her undergraduate studies over six years whilst working part-time' and upon completion' she worked for two years before returning to CQUniversity to undertake a Master of Clinical Psychology.
Her work encompassed research' the criminal justice system' academia' and community mental health' each experience building on from the next.
She was awarded the Australian Psychological Society Student Prize for the Clinical College of the APS (CCLP) for her clinical thesis.
After completing the Clinical Psychology Registrar course' Doreen is now an endorsed Clinical Psychologist.
She returned to CQUniversity several years ago as an academic and became the Head of Course for the Master of Professional Psychology – a course she wrote.
Doreen has since again returned to clinical practice full time' and whilst she misses the interaction with her students' she is extremely happy engaging with clients on a day-to-day basis.
"As frightening as it was' STEPS truly changed my life. Without this pathway' I would never have been confident enough to commence the journey."
And "What a journey it has been!" Doreen said.
To find out more about CQUniversity's STEPS program or attend an online information session – next session Friday 23 September 12 pm – 1pm – visit the website.
Term 3 applications close 10 October 2022 and classes begin 7 November' 2022.