Charles Sturt University Bachelor of Education student David Hunt didn’t plan to go to university.
The 34-year-old husband and father had other priorities: a stint in shearing sheds, six years in the Navy in mine countermeasures and three years as an apprentice sparky.
Now, David realises his varied life experience across different jobs has made him a better student.
David was not academically minded in his younger years, saying he was the class clown during high school.
“I always played up in school,” David said.
”How I ever got my HSC was a shock to me, but when I got into the Navy my stubbornness gave way to harsh disciplinary action after failing numerous tests.
“Gone were the days of a friendly teacher who’d patiently put up with my exam fails!”
Leaving the Navy after six years, David moved home to Dubbo where he got a job as an apprentice electrician following the same path of his grandfather and uncle.
After three years his apprenticeship fell through and David struggled to find a job because “you’re too expensive but you don’t know enough” as a third-year apprentice.
He decided to take on university studies and enrolled in a human resources degree.
At the same time David kept his military connection and was involved in the local RSL Sub Branch where he met many other ex-service people from the Army, Navy and Air Force.
“While I was studying human resources, I thought I’d have a crack at studying teaching and told an ex-Army mate who talked me round, so I enrolled,” David said.
The Navy experience, with its ‘sink or swim’ approach, gave David the motivation to learn quickly and it’s that skill he’s applied to his degree.
“Learning and retaining information fast is a habit I can’t get out of,” David said when talking about his experience and how he uses it at university.
David said his life and job experience have also helped him in other ways as he relates differently to lecturers and tutors than some students who have come to university directly from high school.
“Being older I am able to read between the lines when it comes to what is required in lectures and understand the personality of the lecturer faster than most of the younger students. This has enabled me to be not so intimidated and more willing to speak face-to-face to the lecturer, whereas other younger students may feel a bit more nervous about approaching them.
“They are also accessible and sometimes I find I can spend a day trying to work out an assessment question that they solve in five minutes after I have sat down with them,” David said.
David said CSU was the obvious choice because of its strong reputation in regional NSW, its online offering and his wife was an alumnus having completed a Bachelor of Nursing.
Alongside the assistance he receives from lecturers, David said he also uses the resources and programs CSU offers regularly.
“Funnily enough before I joined the Navy I worked as a labourer and helped build the student accommodation at the Dubbo campus, so the university has always been in the background,” David added.