Charles Sturt University graduate Mrs Marion Wichmann juggled full-time employment, family obligations and study to recently graduate with a Bachelor of Social Science (Social Welfare), which she said she could not have accomplished alone.
It was not easy for Mrs Marion Wichmann to complete her degree but with the assistance of her lecturers and her family, and a little prayer, she has proudly graduated from Charles Sturt University.
Mrs Wichmann migrated from New Zealand in 2005 and currently resides in Sydney.
Her recent graduation is the culmination of almost a decade of study and a lot of help from her children, husband and mother, and her University lecturers.
Mrs Wichmann has six children (one with a disability), cares for her elderly mother, is active in her church community, and works full-time.
Life in a big family can be busy and challenging, according to Mrs Wichmann, but she was determined to finish her degree, a Bachelor of Social Science (Social Welfare), now a Bachelor of Human Services (with specialisations) in the Charles Sturt School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
“When I enrolled at Charles Sturt University, I can confidently say that I have never felt judged by lecturers,” she said.
“The lecturers truly understood that juggling study with everyday life can be stressful at times … and they were flexible and gave me lots of encouragement and lifted me at times when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore.
“I felt the sincere and genuine desire from my lecturers for me to succeed.”
Mrs Wichmann said as she cared for her husband last year after he had a stroke and for her mother after her health deteriorated, her lecturers were in regular contact and would support her requests for extensions.
“I was physically and mentally exhausted, my lecturers and my work colleagues supported me through my ordeal,” she said.
“I feel very privileged and grateful to have studied at Charles Sturt University, and if I decide to pursue further study, it would definitely be with the University.”
Mrs Wichmann is the first in her immediate family to graduate from university, and was motivated to keep going because she wanted to be an example to her children.
She wants her children to understand the importance of education and the opportunities that can come from it and know that learning can be accomplished at any stage in life.
“I wanted my husband, children and my mum to be proud and to celebrate my achievement,” she said.
“They have been with me through the highs and lows of studying.”
University study is finished for now but Mrs Wichmann is still busy.
She is working in the social welfare sector, assisting clients and their families with finances, finding residential aged care, liaising with Centrelink, seeking housing for the homeless, networking with agencies, and providing advocacy.
Her idea of her dream career is constantly changing, but Mrs Wichmann said she would like to work in social housing for the Department of Communities and Justice.
“The good thing about my career is that there are many opportunities for employment,” she said.
Further study has not been ruled out, but for now Mrs Wichmann is happy celebrating her recent graduation with a photo session at Charles Sturt in Bathurst with her family in attendance, followed by a family dinner.