“As a mature-age student I had enormous doubts and anxiety as to whether I could learn again, and whether I would fit in,” said Mr Iain Wood, a 42 year-old full-time first-year student studying a Bachelor of Education (K−12) in the Charles Sturt School of Teacher Education.
A single father of three children aged 13, 10 and seven, Mr Wood is the recipient of a $3,000 Bathurst Teachers’ College Alumni Scholarship.
Mr Wood attended Kelso High School, and his father, who graduated in 1970 from Bathurst Teachers’ College, a predecessor institution of Charles Sturt University, taught for 35 years, mostly in Bathurst.
Upon graduation Mr Wood hopes to teach in either a primary school or high school.
Re-engaging with tertiary study marks a big change for Mr Wood following his career with two police services.
“I spent six years with the Australian Federal Police in Sydney, and then another six years with NSW Police,” Mr Wood said.
“The challenge of leaving the police force and transitioning to civilian life has been a struggle at times, and a big adjustment.
“Being a divorced father of three children for whom I share 50/50 care, and changing careers, the challenge of returning to study as a mature-age student was extremely daunting and the juggling act of life has been eased with the support of this scholarship.
“I sincerely thank the Bathurst Teachers’ College Alumni Association for awarding me this scholarship, and I am extremely grateful.”
Mr Wood said the scholarship has enabled him to purchase textbooks, a laptop for use at home and on campus, as well as items to assist study, such as charts and worksheets, and be able to print journal articles and notes for study, which also help him plan and allocate study time.
“Having the financial support of this scholarship has had a flow-on effect in that my current costs of living and raising my family can be met more effectively with my current income,” he said.
“Without this scholarship I would have found it very hard to adjust my budget to be able to afford learning materials as well as day-to-day necessities.”
Reflecting on his return to studying at Charles Sturt as a mature-age student, on campus and then online due to COVID-19, Mr Wood said he was very nervous at first.
“Walking onto campus during 2020 Orientation Week as a mature-age student I had enormous doubts and anxiety as to whether, firstly, I could learn again, and secondly, whether I would fit in,” he said.
“The welcome by the Orientation Week staff and student body, as well as the student services team, helped ease my nerves, and once the lectures and tutorials commenced, the support from the lecturers was fantastic.
“The availability of lecturers to provide feedback and advice was far greater than I expected and went a long way in helping me improve my confidence, my direction with assessments, and resulted in me achieving some great – and surprising − results in my first semester.”
Mr Wood’s advice to current or prospective students considering applying for scholarships is, “Do it”.
“There are so many scholarships that may be applicable, so I suggest grabbing a coffee, sitting down and browsing through the Charles Sturt University scholarships on offer,” he said.
“The search tools on the scholarship page are helpful in narrowing down which scholarships you may be eligible for and the application process is easy to follow.
“The link through the Student Portal took me to the relevant pages and the instructions and checklist were clear and easy to follow, and I was able to save my progress and return to edit or complete more details prior to the final submission.
“The application process for the Bathurst Teachers College Alumni Scholarship closed in February 2020, and I was notified in April that I had been awarded the scholarship.
“This gives me great confidence for my future teaching career.”
For more information about Charles Sturt University scholarships please go to https://study.csu.edu.au/get-support/scholarships’.