Education's a family affair
THE family that studies together stays together.
At least that's the case for Noosa mother Sue Arnold and daughters Lisa and Lauren.
Sue, 53, is studying a Bachelor of Social Work (Honours) while Lisa, 32, is returning to a Bachelor Digital Media after trialling a term in the Bachelor of Information Technology course.
Lauren, 25, is undertaking the Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) program to enter into a Bachelor of Learning Management (Early Childhood Education).
They all gained entry to university through the STEPS program and are studying via distance education but make regular appearances at the CQU's Noosa campus.
"It is fantastic to make use of the facilities. The CQUni Noosa campus is a hidden gem," Sue said.
"The people are so welcoming and friendly, even though we are distance students."
Though education is now a family affair, Sue was the first in the family to commence study after a touching personal story inspired her to pursue a career in social work.
"My son was very sick and I worked closely with the social worker when he was in hospital," she said.
"I realised there weren't as many social workers available to work with the families, only the patients. The families in those circumstances do suffer too, and they need that support.
"Now I know this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing in life - helping others."
Their mum's desire to help others also inspired Lisa and Lauren.
Having not studied since high school, Lisa said she had never considered university study until her mother encouraged her.
"It was the best thing mum ever did for herself. I didn't know what I wanted to do in life but mum convinced me to give it a go and it's been great," Lisa said.
She brings the third generation of the family into the study equation, often bringing 10-month-old son Alec on campus.
He's proven a hit with the Learning Management students.
"There are lots of Education students on campus and they absolutely love to play with him," Lisa said.
"He's a very social boy and he runs up to them and talks in his own language. It's very cute."
Youngest daughter Lauren also manages the juggle between motherhood and study, with two-year old-daughter Alexandria.
She said her mum and sister had been integral in guiding her through the ups and downs of university life.
"It can be a handful, but having mum and my sister studying with me makes it easier. They understand what I'm going through," Lauren said.
"I think I probably I annoy them more than anything by asking lots of questions all the time. But they are always there to help me."
"Studying together has brought us so much closer. We now realise we're all on the same path. We all want to better our lives and we're doing it together."
For more information on the STEPS program, visit cqu.edu.au/step.