Back in 2010, I met a very special occupational hygienist. She was (and still is!) really up-beat and energetic – but the thing that stuck out for me, was how she was able to pretty much solve any technical scenario on foot, without having to go back to the office and spend days or weeks looking it up. This got me intrigued and when I asked her how she did this, she just said that she had just finished studying at Uni – and spent the past year listening to #hygienegods and now all that magical information was permanently implanted in her brain.
I asked her what course/ where etc and then quickly concluded that there was probably no way that I could ever do a Master’s degree living 4 hours away with a young family in tow. She saw this as no obstacle and encouraged me (repeatedly!) to apply.
So one night, glass of wine in hand, I got on the University of Wollongong website and I applied. I nearly fell over when I got accepted, and I remember that feeling of “OMG what have I done!”
I reminisce driving down for my first ever subject. It was so refreshing to use a part of my brain that I think lay dormant for a while there, and I was instantly hooked. Going back to Uni after 10 years was a bit different to how I remember it when I was younger. I revelled spending time in the library (no screaming children!) and I never actually went into the Uni bar, which was quite the change from how I remember being an undergrad science student!!
Two years flew by, and I ended up graduating last year, largely in part to having the world’s most patient husband, a very supportive employer, and a baby that didn’t mind being fed whilst I typed my thesis on my computer late at night.
Last night, I drove down to Wollongong one more time, although this time with hubby in tow, as I was honoured to receive a very special award. Somehow, amongst all the juggling of family life, I managed to top the entire Occupational Health and Safety and Occupational Hygiene programme. Whilst my brother may argue that it was a “slow year”, I’m still chuffed!
A great deal of thanks goes to the UOW for putting on a fantastic and rewarding programme, with a very special thank you to Jane Whitelaw (Head of the OHP Academic Programme) and to 3M for their support for the award. Being on the other side of the degree reinforces how lucky I was to have met an enthusiastic occupational hygienist who persuaded me to do it in the first place. Luckily for me, Holly Fletcher is also now a great friend! In return I have been doing my best at encouraging others to go back to Uni and study it also…so far I am 2 from 2.
So what about you? Have you always had an interest in science? Why don’t you apply for the next intake for the course at the University of Wollongong? The course may have changed in name, but the content is what’s important – why don’t you consider applying for the Master of Work Health & Safety over a glass of wine tonight?
Just before we left the UOW, I couldn’t resist taking the hubby to the Uni bar for the very first time. We indulged in a Corona and fish and chips…so I now feel like my University experience is truly complete.