After five years and two degrees' psychology student Kymberly Lillis could not have been prouder to walk the CQUniversity Townsville graduation stage recently (Tuesday' 10 May 2022).
"Studying with CQUniversity honestly changed my life for the better – not only in terms of my career prospects' but also the lessons I learnt during my studies have helped me grow and develop as a person'" Kym said.
"Psychology was always an interest of mine. I had naturally fulfilled somewhat of a counselling role to friends and family; however' I had never considered myself the right fit to study at university.
"That was until a point in my life when I decided I wanted a change and a different future."
As a mum of two young boys' Kym said it was ultimately de the dedication to her family that provided the extra motivation needed to apply.
"Around this time my son was diagnosed with autism and I immediately wanted to learn more about what this meant for him'" she explained.
"It felt like all the stars sort of aligned' so I took a leap of faith and decided to apply. Within a few days' I was accepted into the Bachelor of Psychological Science! "
After hearing about CQUniversity's flexible study options' Kym said it felt like the ideal choice for her busy lifestyle.
"The ability to complete my studies via distance education was a perfect option since my kids were still very young and needed a lot of care.
"Being a stay-at-home mum meant that I did most of my studies during the night. I had a solid routine that included studying six nights a week after my kids had gone to bed.
"After a while' it just became normal life to be at my desk each night. It also made me appreciate my night off'" she said.
"Funnily enough' it often didn't feel like work as I genuinely enjoyed what I was studying. After running around after the kids all day' it was nice to have 'me' time alone to focus on my studies."
She also acknowledged the support of her Queensland Country Credit Union Scholarship which provided recognition and financial assistance to assist with expenses associated with studying at university.
"My biggest challenge was how time-poor I often felt. The scholarship helped immensely' not only financially but also with time.
"It literally bought me more hours in the day as I could allocate some of the funds to pay for daycare hours for my boys' giving me more time to complete uni work'" Kym said.
"I am also very lucky to have a very supportive husband who helped me to create space in my day wherever he could. Most of the time he took the kids out for a day while I finished assignments.
"I tried as much as I could to stick to the uni's recommendation of 10 to 12 hours per unit as a minimum. Every little bit of time counts so I would squeeze work in where I could' even if it was only 10 minutes at a time.
"That sometimes meant me reading a textbook in the car at school pick up while I waited for the afternoon bell or watching tutorials during back-to-back episodes of Peppa Pig."
Although Kym admitted that her psychology journey was a long and arduous path' she said the connections and support systems she made have been priceless.
"A major highlight has been the tribe I connected with along the way. I have been lucky to develop long-term friendships with my teachers and peers. I know I will always be able to turn to them throughout any point in my career' " Kym said.
"I'm currently working as a provisional psychologist with the Australian Defence Force which I love. I will finish my internship there and plan to stay in the role for a while.
"It has taken me years to get to this stage and it will take me another year minimum to complete my internship.
"That can feel a little overwhelming for some' but the way I see it' those six years going by regardless' so you might as well do something constructive with them' something that serves you and sets you up for the future you want."