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Thread: Should I, Could I?

  1. #1

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    Default Should I, Could I?

    I'm hoping you girls can help me with about 100 questions - any advice is welcome too.

    The time has come for me to retrain and I think I'd like to study Psychology.

    ProsI need a trade or degree to ensure ongoing/stable employment
    Dad is a well-respected Psych, earns 6 figures from home, loves what he does and is still going strong at the age of 85.
    I've worked for him for about 13 years - I can't tell you how much Ive absorbed.
    Dad would be a massive source of help for me.
    Dad sort of can't retire because his clients won't let him - I could have a business quite quickly by taking over from him.

    Cons

    THE MONEY
    I'm scraping though right now and have been this past year. I'm not working becuase I really cannot find anything that interests me at my level.
    Can I live in poverty whilst I study, I'm sick to death of it already?
    I have 3 kids and I'm on my own, I don't have another income to back me up.
    I don't know how much it will cost me and I'm too scared to look in case it smashes my dreams already.
    I did a year of Bachelor of Health Science in Natropathy a while back (NB - never marry a man who encourages you to drop your studies) and loved it however I did struggle a bit with isolation and the silly 19 yr olds taking up class time showing off their 'knowledge', secure living at home with parents paying their way.
    I realise I needed more 'head time', especially studying things like anatomy (having flat mates attempting to pass joints under my door every 10 mins to 'help me study' was rather frustrating too!)
    I have FAR more motivation now.

    O.K - So I know the books are exxy, and for years I felt Tertiary Ed was a luxury. Now I feel it's a necessity, but can I afford it?

    I have a young friend studying the same, his full time hours were about 2 days per week. What constitutes full time or part time?

    Where can I find out about scholarships (or find a sugar-daddy?).
    I would probably be prepared to go back to my old (horrible) work part time in order to help out and the money is pretty good. If was a means to an end I could probably do it.

    HHmmmmmm



    Reading the other threads has been a great source of info so far (Congrats you guys!), maybe I could spend this year preparing for the STAT thing and working a crap job to get ahead in the bils etc?

    I keep thinking this is a bit of a pipe dream - is it?

  2. #2

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    Go for it! I would try to work part time to get some money, will you qualify for austudy as well? I think your pros outweigh the cons and the cons are only short term negatives which would be resolved in a few years. think of what a great role model you would be for your kids too.
    Sorry I can't advise on any specifics as its years since I studied.

  3. #3

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    lulu - go for it. If you do qualify for austudy you can still earn some income. yes it will be hard, but worth it in the end. I have been studying to teach - currently deferred because I fell pregnant and had aston... but are going back next year. Because I have to do a lot of prac placement with my degree it meant I would have had to put Aston into care fulltime, which is why I didnt go back this year. Just wasn't ready to do that.

    Have a chat to centrelink, and see what you qualify for. I have a message that comes up on my phone each time I turn it on... Remember Your Bliss. And wanting to teach is mine. If you have a dream never give up on it... It doesn't matter how long it takes you to fullfill it.

    Good luck.

  4. #4

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    Lulu, I say go for it. I agree that your pros list is better than you cons list, and that they are short term negatives, that will be over ridden once you've graduated. Knowing that you've got a practice there to take over is a HUGE plus. I really think that if you put this off, you'll regret it.

    I can't help you with practical stuff, I am yet to live out my own dream I want to finish having my babies first, before I launch into study. But I am taking baby steps to get there, and doing what I think will help me down the track. I agree that contacting Centrelink is a good idea, to give you a clue about what you're entitled to.

    Good luck, you can do it!

  5. #5

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    Lulu

    There's one thing missing from your pros list and that's whether you would actually like to BE a psychologist, not whether it makes sense to be one. If it is YOUR dream and you think you would like to practice it, then yes, go for it. But if you're not that passionate about it, take your time, until you think of something else. Going back to study will be difficult, you will need that passion to sustain you.

    Perhaps have a chat with your dad and see if he can come up with something similar to psychology that wouldn't require you to go back to uni for so many years - kind of like a dip the toe in the water thing. What about a certificate specifically in counselling. I often see ads in the newspapers which no doubt are dodgy but there must be some decent ones out there too that won't take that long, won't be that expensive and will enable you to get clients relatively quickly after qualifying. Then once you've done that, you could look at doing the full sher-bang.

    Interesting question - I'm contemplating a change of career too and am asking myself whether I want to go back to uni too! I've decided I want to be a policy adviser - think I overdosed on watching the West Wing while DD was a newborn.

  6. #6

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    I think the decision has been made for you...LOL! bet your dad would be so proud to have you follow in his footsteps, go for it!!!! and goodluck

  7. #7

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    Oh yes, I would dearly love to BE a psych, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed working with dad.

    That would surely keep me going all the way through, it's jsut the cost of the course that worries me. I don't even know where to start to look.

  8. #8

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    To practise as a psych here you need to have an undergrad in psych, honours, plus a masters. I think there is an alternative to doing honours + masters by doing on the job training so to speak, but it still takes many years.

    So to do psych you need undergrad (3 yrs), honours (1 yr) + masters (2yrs), which is quite a long time to study for.

    DH just finishes his undergrad in psych. This year at Monash the minimum grade average to get accepted into honours was 73, which for psych subjects like stats etc at a 3d year level (because they alter your marks to get a normal distrubution on a bell curve) is really quite high.

    Not saying you can't do it, just that there are 6 years involved so you can actually work as a psychologist, and we just couldn't afford for DH to keep going, living on Austudy is hard, you rack up a huge HECS debt, and at a masters level you have to pay for it unless you get a scholarship. And it is really really hard to get those kinds of marks whilst still having a family. DH found it hard, 1 toddler and a pregnant wife who gave birth during exams, trying to compete against kids who lived at home and had no other responsibilities.

  9. #9

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    Okay Lulu, I've started a BPsych undergraduate degree this year, and I'll give you my take on why I've decided to do it:

    I've found something I'm passionate about: This sounds like you. I can see you know what you want, and if it wasn't for the money situation, you wouldn't even be thinking about it.

    Motivation: because I know what I want to achieve, the motivation is there in spades. Yes it's annoying having had to line up with to get my Student card with young things my DD's age, listening to them talking about daddy paying for their books and buying them a car, but I could feel how much better I was going to be at this than them, just because of what I was sacrificing to get it. I stood there listenging to them, and while they will have the luxury of time and money, I'll have a hunger they won't. My MIL, who works for Health Sciences, always tells me mature aged students consistently do better than school leavers for this reason.

    Books: yes these can be expensive, but there is an online trading webpage for books, and a lot of uni guilds do provide monetery assistance for the cost of books for low income students. Plus most bookshops run second hand areas too.

    Money: I work 8am to 5pm 4 days a week, DH fulltime and with a mortgage, childcare costs and HECS being withheld, we're never seem to have enough, and we live very simply. But everytime I wonder why the hell I'm doing this, waking at 6am, dropping DH at work and Charlie at daycare (because we only have one car to save $) then going to work all day, then picking everyone up, going home, cooking dinner, putting C to bed then studying until 11pm every night, I look at this massive poster I have of C on my work cubicle wall with the words 'remember what's important' on the bottom, and it keeps me focussed. Short term pain for long term gain. Find a way to keep you focussed. Relish the small things, andremind yourself everyday that you're playing the long game. Many people don't have the personal fortitude to put in the work now to reap the rewards later. I think you do. And while that's not to say things change, and if it gets impossible to carry on for whatever reason, you can take time off, defer and pick it up again when circumstances change. But at least you're in the system.

    Lastly call Centrelink and call your local unis and talk to people and find out what you have to do to get assistance. How much wil you get, how much can you work? Then do your sums and make it work for you.

    I'm not saying to won't be hard - it will be. But you will never know until you try!

    My MIL started her degree full time at 30 years of age as a single mother of a 11 and 12 yo, and my DH remembers them always not having enough money, having to take turns cooking because their mum was at uni, and always, always being so proud of her. And his work ethic learned from that time still remains today. He has a degree in Sports Science and a post grad dip in Occ Health and Safety, and he was the one who gently encouraged me to go back to uni because he's seen the sacrifice vs rewards with his mum, and he knows it's worth it. She's now doing her Doctorate (she went on to achieve a Masters) at the ripe old at of 58, and she loves her job (she works for the uni as the Manager of Student Services at Health Sciences) You may not end up practising, or you may, but you have to have a dream. She is my inspiration, too.

    Good luck hun. I'm with you all the way and I know you can do it. I can hear it when I read your post. You have until this time next year to wrap your head around it, but I have every confidence that you will. Then you and me, we can b*tch about how hard it is together, but know we're both loving every second of it!
    Last edited by sushee; February 17th, 2008 at 04:11 PM.

  10. #10

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    ditto sushee!!

    I just wanted to add too Lulu - that there are financial scholarships available at all uni's - some funded by the uni themselves, others by the commonwealth government. I qualified for it, and while its not a huge amount - it paid for text books, and getting a new computer.

  11. #11

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    go for it, if you think you can put up with money struggles for a few more years, then go for it, if you can remind yourself when you get down about money, that studying is going to do you wonders in the long term then go for it, dont look for reasons not to.

  12. #12

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    Bugger, I have thinking to do...

    If I had a DH like Sush or a wife like Yael I would be on easy street. I have a few months to think about it and prepare.

    However - I don't think I can do six years of povvo. I just can't. If the hot water blew up or the roof caved in I would be stuffed. Pure and simple. The piece of paper at the end would be worth it, but to myself I thought maybe 3-4 years max (the eternal optimist). DD needs braces this year, plus an exchange trip (sadly she may have to miss this) to Germany. My house needs work and I'm behind already......one one income.....I don' t think I could take it. I'm at the edge of reason as it is and I feel pretty sad I don't think it could happen.

    But - if I could get work as a psych or assistant (I have dad and he maybe able to pull in a favour with an old mate) would that make much difference?
    I would still need a sugar-daddy though - which may not be out of the realms of possibility (eternal optimist again), I really mean scholarships......but where do I find out what is on offer???

    aaghhhhh - I'm not giving up just yet.......I've already been daydreaming about swapping notes with you Sushee!!

  13. #13

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    I know what you mean about the six-year investment Lulu - it's a LONG time. Now I'm sorry if I'm off track here but I guess I always associate psychology with counselling and there are courses that you can do in counselling that are MUCH shorter than that. Some you can do online at your own pace and pay as you go. So that would get you qualified with something that you could use professionally MUCH quicker.

    Again, sorry if I've become a broken record because I know I'm repeating what I said in my previous post, but I suppose what I'm getting at is maybe there's a way you could do a more vocational course that's similar to psychology but where the end would be in sight a lot quicker.

  14. #14

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    Oh I will def investigate that too Fionas. I'm not terribly interested in counselling (I'm too gung ho!), short of career/vocational counselling. This is such a crap possie to be in, but I am buying tatts tickets in case anyway!

    I do appreciate the opinion of a cool chickie like yourself!

  15. #15

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    You know Lulu when I was at uni, a friend and I had NO idea what we wanted to do and we both joked that we might become careers counsellors and advise people what they should do instead. She did infact become one.

    You could be a school counsellor. At your DD's school.

    I've joked that I'm going to retrain as an MCHN, then a kindy assistant, then primary school teacher, then secondary school teacher so DD can NEVER escape me!

    Blush and thanks for the compliment. You're a pretty cool chick yourself!

  16. #16

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    Lulu,

    I'm sitting here after a long day at work and late night shopping, surrounded by books, knowing I've got at least 10 pages to read tonight, am so tired and so weary, but I'm loving it.

    Don't think of it as a 6 year mountain to climb, it will seem insurmountable. If I thought too hard about how long it's going to take me to finish this degree (at the rate I'm going, about 10 years) I know I will realistically probably never practice as a psychologist. But I'm doing something I'm passionate about, and so it's not a chore. And who knows what time and opportunity will bring?

    Hun, maybe just sit your STAT test and apply. If you get in, maybe start out slowly with a 25 % or 50% load. Then when you get the feel for it, see if you want to tough it out and go fulltime at a later date. You don't have to make a life-changing decision right now. I'm only doing one unit this semester, studying after the kids are in bed, and I refuse to be put off by how long this is going to take me. If in the end, nothing comes of it, I know I tried, and I will have had no regrets.

    My DH said very similar things to me to encourage me, so in the absence of someone nudging you along, I'll be your de facto cheer squad if you want.

  17. #17

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    But Sush - I have to be able to practice! I need to do this for the future. Bloody Vanstone craps me off - SHE got a free education **grumbly rant**.

  18. #18

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    Then keep that goal in mind, and start taking baby steps towards it. It may take 6 years, it may take more, but chip away at that goal if you really want it.

    I was talking to my MIL about you, and she said you've got an incredible advantage already with your dad being a psych. A ready-made mentor. So now it's all about thinking how to make it happen, and not of the obstacles. She did 6 years full time, and graduated with her Masters when my DH was in year 12, but I know I couldn't do it myelf, so I'm doing it slowly until I get some confidence (or I win lotto) to take on more units.

    Remember too you don't start paying HECs back until you earn more than $34k I think. I earn $45k partime and they're withholding about $40 a week, so it's bearable. But I too wish we didn't have to pay for our bloody educations!

    ETA If I cross the line between being encouraging and being a pushy cow, feel free to start ignoring me BTW! Lol!
    Last edited by sushee; February 21st, 2008 at 10:51 PM.

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