From minimum-wage worker to high achieving Griffith University Bachelor of Human Services student, Pip Giles is proof that anyone can change their life through study.
After finishing school at Year 10, Pip worked in a series of menial roles until, at the age of 35, she decided to follow her dream of working in community services and enrolled at TAFE.
“I’m particularly interested in helping young people and homeless youth,’’ she said.
“But when I looked into study, I thought a diploma would be too difficult so I enrolled in a certificate course instead.”
To her astonishment, she easily ploughed through the certificate and soon enrolled in a Diploma of Community Services which she also completed.
Emboldened by her success and encouraged by her TAFE teachers, Pip plucked up the courage to enrol in a Bachelor of Human Services at Logan campus.
Again, her fear of failure nearly held her back.
“After attending orientation at Logan campus, I was daunted by the magnitude of studying at university level and went back to TAFE. Then I thought I had to give it a go, so returned to uni.”
In the first few weeks she didn’t cope well with the study load and was nervous about submitting her first piece of assessment.
“I nearly quit and without the reassurance of a student support advisor who said my work was fine, I wouldn’t have had the courage to continue,’’ she said.
With initial fears quelled, Pip has gone from strength to strength with an outstanding GPA of 6.7.
“I’m still flabbergasted but I’m proof that if you study something you love, you can’t go wrong.”
Now her dream is to establish a youth refuge in Logan and her volunteer work with Rosies, Friends on the Street, has given her extra impetus to achieve that goal when she graduates.
Pro Vice Chancellor, Logan campus, Professor Lesley Chenoweth said the focus on adult learners at the campus was fundamental.
“Being a community oriented campus, Logan sees adult learning as a key strategy to build whole communities. Adult Learners Week (September 2-8) is real celebration of that commitment,’’ she said.
“We have invested in programs specifically about building aspiration and widening participation for adult learners.
“So many of our students have re-engaged with education later in life, be that in their 20s and 30s after periods of unemployment or raising a family. Some have come from semi-skilled, trade type backgrounds and want to retrain. People seek out learning opportunities for all kinds of reasons.”
Pip will be on hand to talk to prospective students at the launch of Adult Learner’s Week at Logan campus Wednesday, September 2.
The program includes an Adult Learner Expo and inspirational stories from other adult learners. Guest speakers include: John Danalis, author of Riding the Black Cockatoo and Dr Jim Chalmers, Federal Member for Rankin, who will present REACH awards to adult learners.
Learn more about adult learners and pathways to university.