Cherishing the present and looking to the future: a masterclass in balancing study and family.

For Toi-Ohomai online learner, Orianne Meiller, learning online meant she could continue to pursue her professional goals as she welcomed her first child, Aedan.

Former pastry chef, Orianne, moved to New Zealand from France with her husband four years ago. She decided to study after she broke her ankle two years ago.

“The rehabilitation was really long, and I didn’t want to stay home doing nothing, and so I decided to study in case I couldn’t go back to my former job,” she said.

Orianne completed the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Small Business) online with Toi-Ohomai in 2019. She found the experience so rewarding that she decided to enrol in the Diploma of Business (Human Resource Management).

Orianne began her second qualification while she was pregnant with Aedan, hoping to complete it before he arrived. When she realised that she wouldn’t be able to finish it before she gave birth, Orianne was determined to find a way to continue with her studies, so she got in touch with her online course facilitator and student advisor.

“My facilitators, Nathan and Melanie, and my student advisor, Rachel, came together and discussed what they could do to help out. When I had a question, they would reply really quickly so I could move on faster. I finished the third to last course a week before I gave birth. It was quite a rush, but it was really quite fun,” she said.

“Then, about two or three weeks after Aedan was born, I was ready to start studying again,” Orianne said.

Orianne talked to her student advisor about how to manage study and childcare after Aedan was born and decided to move to part-time study. She soon got into a routine that worked for her and Aedan.

“We have our own little thing. I do my work when he sleeps. It does not always mean I can do all the learning that should to be done on that day, but with part time learning I can balance it with his and my needs,” she said.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been challenges along the way! Aedan is now teething, and Orianne has experienced what she describes as “baby brain,” she said.

“Sometimes I had to read the work fifteen times to remember it!”

Orianne highly recommends online learning to those balancing parenting and study.

“The fact that you can choose between part time and full time really gives you the flexibility to take your time with your study when you need to. Every time that I’ve had a hard time, I’ve always had somebody that I could talk to. Always. It’s worked really well,” Orianne said.

Her dedication has paid off, and she has received fantastic feedback on her assignments.

“When you see that you’re starting to do well, you want more, and keep putting your standards up. I’m really happy with how I’ve done, and with the good teachers I had, it was easy,“ she said.

With her qualification almost finished, Orianne is looking forward to beginning a new career in HR.

“I’m not only a mother, I’m also a woman with a career who will go back to work. This is my ‘changing career’ diploma,” she said.

Giving up her studies never even crossed Orianne’s mind.

“I’m a person who likes to finish what I’ve started.”

So, what’s Orianne’s next step? She can’t wait to begin a new career in HR, and in the meantime, she’s planning to complete a Bachelor of Applied Management with Toi Ohomai. And if she finds work while she’s studying? She’ll make it work!

A massive congratulations from the eCampus NZ whānau on your achievements so far, Orianne. We wish you the best as you finish your studies and take the next step in your career!

The eCampus NZ learning platform is being closed on 29 February 2024, as part of the completion of the amalgamation into Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga. Therefore, access to courseware for ākonga (learners) will be available for three months post course completion or 29 February 2024, whichever happens first. If you have any questions, please contact eCampus NZ : [email protected] or call 0800 328 269.