HeyU Issue 10 - 11 July 2014 - Page 5

USQ Anthropology student, Erin, lives, ‘I can put questions up at any time and get studies and works in Mt Isa, 1500kms a response the next day, or I can listen to a away from the nearest USQ campus and lecture at 2am if I wish.’ According to Erin, 1700kms away from her family and friends. the flexibility of USQ’s distance education Having a full-time job in Mt Isa that she is program ‘is a fantastic representation of deeply passionate about, when Erin decided today’s cosmopolitan society.’ to pursue a qualification, it was important to Erin admits that before she started her degree, her to find a university that would be flexible, she was worried she would be studying alone supportive, and allow her to study around her and wouldn’t be able to ask questions. other commitments. “YOU GET TO KNOW PEOPLE DOING THE SAME COURSES AND DEGREE AS YOU AND YOU HAVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEM JUST LIKE YOU WOULD IF YOU WERE IN A CLASSROOM SETTING.” Erin believes finding the time and motivation to study can be just that little bit harder for off-campus students and confesses that she is often easily distracted. After she got into the swing of things, however, she realised ‘USQ has a real sense of community.’ ‘You get to know people doing the same ‘I live in a small country town and it’s courses and degree as you and you have surrounded by absolutely breathtaking relationships with them, just like you would scenery, so it’s easy for me to get side-tracked. if you were in a classroom setting. Everyone I can have great plans to study all day, but is in the same boat via distance so we all end up out at the lake tanning in the sun or understand how each other are feeling!’ going fishing.’ By connecting online via social media, Erin She says that having a passion for what you feels like she is part of the USQ community. want to study is the key. She regularly participates in USQ’s Instagram challenges, saying, ‘they are a great way to ‘The lecturers I have encountered at USQ facilitate the social aspect of ‘going to uni’ for are really fantastic. They are knowledgeable, distance students, who don’t get the chance have experienced so much and are willing to physically be there.’ and excited to share that with you. It makes you want to learn. Sometimes I find ‘The ability to be flexible and determined has myself researching topics even though it’s helped me get through the ups and downs not assessable, they’ve just made it sound of full time work and study. Keeping your interesting.’ sense of humour and having a good laugh is also a vital skill that has prepared me for the Erin’s workplace functions 24/7, so she studies challenges of balancing these aspects of my whenever, and wherever, she can. This may life!’ mean staying back at work, listening to lecture podcasts on hour-long drives, or taking her Having just finished the last semester of books to study by the lake. She is fortunate her undergraduate degree, Erin intends to that because she is studying in the same field commence postgraduate studies at USQ. She she is employed in, she is able to closely relate hopes to use her qualifications to perform parts of her education to her work. Working ethnographic fieldwork into the Indigenous long hours, the 24/7 availability of USQ’s Australian and Inuit cultures. Her dream job StudyDesk makes off-campus study achievable would be hosting a television show about for Erin. culture, travel and history.