Embarking on university study is no easy task but adding the COVID-19 pandemic and homeschooling five children created another set of challenges for Tanarra Olsen.
The Ipswich based mum started her studies with CQUniversity's enabling course Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) in 2021 before starting her Bachelor of Nursing earlier this year.
"Being a busy mum' I needed the flexibility that online learning offered. I decided to study with CQU as I felt they offered the most support for my lifestyle.
"I first heard about CQU by chance through an ad on the radio for the STEPS program. The way it was advertised sounded just like the university for me'" Tanarra said.
"I didn't complete high school' so STEPS gave me the confidence and entry requirements to succeed in tertiary education."
She said that the hands-on support from university staff and financial assistance from a CQUniCares GWI Scholarship helped her juggle life as a student and mother.
The CQUniCares GWI Scholarship provides recognition and financial assistance to a deserving bachelor's degree student in financial need. Tanarra was awarded up to $5'000 for one year of financial assistance to assist with expenses associated with studying at university.
"The biggest challenge of my journey has been meeting deadlines and managing my study load. During the lockdowns I had to help my children with remote learning at home on top of my own studies'" she explained.
"I was very fortunate to receive a CQUniCares GWI Scholarship as it helped to relieve the financial pressures that come with university. It gave me one less thing to worry about.
"I was able to purchase my textbooks' uniforms and additional printing. I am a very hands-on person' so I print everything out.
"The scholarship helped with the paper and to fund a new eco tank printer.
She also added that the scholarship motivated her to put in extra effort and achieve high marks.
"I have learnt that dreams do not just fall into your lap' you must work for them. All the hard work will pay off if you don't give up'" Tanarra said.
"I am not going to lie' it is extremely hard to manage at times' but being organised is one key aspect that helped me.
"My greatest achievement is that despite the disruptions of the pandemic' I passed all the units that I have completed.
While her overwhelming passion for helping people originally drew her to nursing' Tanarra said reflecting on her experiences as a mother has inspired her to eventually pursue midwifery.
"When I had one of my daughters' I spent a lot of time in the hospital and watched the nurses. I loved the care they gave her whilst we were there'" she said.
"Currently' I am going through some health issues and am unsure what my plans will be in the future' however' I do know that I would love to continue to study with CQU.
"Studying with CQU has been an easy process as they offer a range of support to anyone that seeks it.
"I hope that once I complete my Bachelor of Nursing' I will be able to come back and continue in the midwifery program."
The CQUniCares Scholarship program changes lives and CQUni is grateful to partner with organisations like GWI who share the University's passion for making a difference in the lives of our students' their families and our communities.