It wasn’t so much the onset of ‘empty nest syndrome’ that motivated Joanne (Jo) Boese to return to study at 43, but rather an overwhelming hunger for professional and personal growth that she so rightly deserves.
“I have been in sales and merchandising for a while, which has worked well with having kids as I could pick my days and hours. But as much as I love my work, when my daughter moved out, and my son picked up his apprenticeship, I thought to myself ‘now is the time’ with regards to returning to study. I’ve always been interested in picking up office and administrative work and I knew it was now or never.”
Jo was thrilled to discover the opportunities that existed for her to study part-time, from home, via eCampus NZ. “I knew I couldn’t afford to give up work, and so I looked online for the opportunities that would enable me to study when I could fit it in, which for me is during the evenings and on weekends.”
Having completed a Visual Merchandising Certificate at TAFS Polytechnic, the world of higher education wasn’t completely foreign to Jo, although she concedes her Level 3 New Zealand Certificate in Business (Administration and Technology) was the first study she had undertaken in a long time.
“I really liked it – I enjoy doing paperwork and love stationery!” she quips. “It was particularly helpful as my course co-ordinator would send out a message to us at the beginning of each week detailing what work we should complete. This was ideal because I was trying to do it all on my own, and there were times where I wasn’t keeping up, or I was too far ahead at one point. Her communication took a lot of the stress away.”
Jo’s disciplined approach to her study also involved setting up a dedicated work station at home so she could delineate her studying and living environments. “This was really helpful and encouraged me to set aside the time I needed to complete the qualification.”
Despite learning in a ‘virtual environment’, Jo felt very inspired by the knowledge that there were others encountering and overcoming the same hurdles as her who were willing and able to give her moral support throughout the course.
“I didn’t find the study process intimidating at all, which I think sometimes it can be especially as an older woman returning to study. The fact I could study from the comfort of my own home with plenty of help from the co-ordinator, and also thanks to other younger girls on my course, made me feel really empowered.”
Late night email correspondence offering advice and pep talks became an important, special part of Jo’s experience, and in turn, her advice to others considering e-learning is to embrace the help. “At first I didn’t take advantage of the help, I thought I could do it all by myself. My recommendation is to take the offer, it makes the experience so much better!”
Having successfully qualified with her Level Three Certificate, Jo is excited about the future and plans to complete a Level Four New Zealand Certificate in Business (Administration and Technology). Beyond this time she will pursue her career dreams.
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