Uni decision gives Peta a life she never imagined | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Uni decision gives Peta a life she never imagined

When Hervey Bay mother-of-four Peta Reader addresses the crowd on behalf of students at a USC graduation ceremony next week, she will reflect on an inspiring educational journey.

“I feel an enormous sense of accomplishment,” said Peta, who graduates from USC with a Bachelor of Nursing Science, more than 20 years after first starting university as an 18-year-old.

“I knew as soon as I started that it was the best decision for me – it just felt right.”

The 39-year-old enrolled in a Nursing degree at a university in Victoria when she finished high school in 1997 but decided to leave after one semester.

After several years working in child care and raising a family, she was inspired by the birth of her fourth child to finally follow her aspiration of becoming a nurse and completed a tertiary preparation course as a pathway back to university.

“One of the things I am so proud of is that I have shown my children that you can do anything you set your mind to, at any age and any stage of your life,” said Peta, who will soon begin UnitingCare Health’s graduate registered nurse program at St Stephen’s Hospital.

The Fraser Coast community is invited to the graduation ceremony on Thursday 4 October to celebrate the achievements of the second cohort of students to graduate from USC’s Fraser Coast campus.

It will be held in the upstairs ballroom of the Beach House Hotel, Hervey Bay from 4-5pm. Reservations are essential and can be made at www.usc.edu.au/fraser-coast-graduation

“Standing on the stage to make the graduate’s address is a task I never in a million years thought I would have the confidence to perform when I started my degree,” said Peta.

“It was a big decision to have a complete change of career and lifestyle but my experience at USC has been more than I could ever have imagined, and I haven’t looked back,” she said.

“I have grown in my skills and knowledge as a nurse, and as a person. It has made me who I am today – I am more confident, knowledgeable and challenge-ready, have met some amazing people and have significantly enhanced my public speaking skills.”

During her studies, Peta took on roles as a campus student leader and as a USC student ambassador, sharing her university experiences with prospective students of all ages.

“It was rewarding to offer an insider's viewpoint on being a young university student, doing a tertiary bridging course, life as a mature age student, and as a parent trying to help their children navigate their way around university applications and career choices.”

“My message to others who may be sitting on the fence about starting a degree or changing careers is to believe in yourself,” she said.

“It can be daunting at first but sometimes you have to take that leap of faith to follow your dreams. There are many ways to start the journey so ask questions, set goals and find the right path for you.”

— Clare McKay

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