Work full-time and study part-time: it can be done

Marion Wichmann holding her certificate in her graduation cap and gown

Work full-time and study part-time. Marion Wichmann wondered if it was possible. She always wanted to study at uni but when her chance arrived, she was a mum of six, a carer and a full-time employee. To succeed, Marion knew study had to fit in with her very busy life. Juggling work and family commitments could be challenging, but she was determined to finish her Charles Sturt University social welfare qualification.

Is it worth going to uni?

The answer is yes, yes and yes.

Studying was valuable to Marion for a few reasons. She realised her dream, inspired her children and opened up many new career doors.

“No one in my family has gone to uni. The norm was you went to school and then to work. But I had always wanted to go to uni – originally, I was going to be a teacher.

“When I did get the chance to study, my kids joked about my age and said, ‘why would you bother?’ But learning can be done at any stage in life! So, I promised one of my sons that I would get this degree and he would be at my graduation! I kept that promise. 

“I wanted my adult children to know that you have so many more career options when you go to uni and complete a degree. The doors open up for you.”

“You just need to believe in yourself and know that whatever you want, it can be achieved – but it will require hard work. That’s something I’ve always tried to instil in my children. Pursue your dreams, but understand that nothing worthwhile comes easily; there are no shortcuts.” 

How do mature students survive uni?

With support, support and more support.

Working full-time and studying part-time meant Marion needed the support of everyone around her. Her family and friends, work colleagues and Charles Sturt.

“I could not have accomplished this alone. The support I received was wonderful. It made the difference.

“All of my work colleagues have degrees, so studying among educated people was great. They gave me emotional support and subject support. I could bounce things off them and discuss what I was studying.

“My family were also very supportive of my study. They knew that sometimes I just had to close the door and get things done. My husband and children came on board when I had to study or do assessments. They have been with me through the highs and lows.

“The third level of support that was really important to me came from Charles Sturt. I had previously tried study at another uni and felt unsupported. That’s why I came across to Charles Sturt, and it was amazing! I have a large family and also care for my mum, so there’s always going to dramas.”

Work full-time and study part-time: making it happen

Marion was studying for almost 10 years and life threw her a curve ball or two during that time.

“I was a mature-age student raising six children, caring for my mother and then my husband had a mini stroke. It was overwhelming. I felt guilty asking for extensions and was embarrassed to ask for help. But my lecturers encouraged me to reach out. They said, ‘we know your circumstances and we support you’.

“If I didn’t apply for special consideration, I honestly wouldn’t have finished my degree.

“The people at Charles Sturt were the difference between me graduating or not. They kept supporting me and pushing me. Lecturers would call to check-in on me and encourage me.

“People who study often have a lot going on in their lives, including work and family. Charles Sturt gets that and are happy to work with that to get you over the line. They stand by you.”

“The lecturers truly understood that juggling study with everyday life can be stressful at times … and they were flexible and gave me lots of encouragement and lifted me at times when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore.

“I felt the sincere and genuine desire from my lecturers for me to succeed. I have so much gratitude for them and my Charles Sturt experience.”

Marion Wichmann with her family holding her certificate in her graduation cap and gown

Can going to uni help your career?

Marion believes upskilling with her Charles Sturt qualification will help her move to the next stage of her career.

“It’s amazing. There are many jobs out there to choose from, now that I have this qualification. So many more opportunities. I look at roles and think: can I get paid this amount of money? And the answer is, yes, I can.”

“I no longer have to sell myself short. I can look at roles in child protection or juvenile justice. There are roles in my current area of work in health, and I have an interest in social housing – helping those who can no longer remain in their homes.”

Marion works in the social welfare sector, assisting clients and their families with finances, finding residential aged care, liaising with Centrelink, seeking housing for the homeless, networking with agencies, and providing advocacy.

“I love working with people, especially those who are vulnerable. While I’m not always an advocate for myself, I am always a voice for others.

“The work I do can be challenging, but also very rewarding. You work with all different types of people with a range of needs. Giving clients and their families the practical support they need during difficult times. I connect people to services, help them build additional skills and work towards independence and confidence. That’s the goal.”

Been wondering whether you can work full-time and study part-time? Yes you can!

Are you wanting to upskill and ramp up your career opportunities? Do you want to inspire others? Or is it time to lock-in your dream? You can with us. Find the course that will help you follow your heart, get qualified and land a job you’ll love.