Instead of concentrating on final study for her upcoming university exams, Kathy Maudsley was busy learning about breastfeeding and caring for a new baby.
However, this didn’t stop the James Cook University student from scoring a GPA of 6.55, a near-perfect score, on completion of her degree.
Ms Maudsley will graduate from JCU Townsville this weekend with a Master of Professional Accounting degree.
She will be also be awarded an Academic Medal at graduation, which is based on academic performance, and has been invited to become a member of the Golden Key International Honours Society.
Ms Maudsley completed her degree while working full time as Manager of Admissions and Examinations at JCU and becoming pregnant with her first child.
She sat a final exam one day after giving birth to Benjamin, now 22 months, gaining a special release from the hospital to do so.
Ms Maudsley said there wasn’t really any issue with getting a pass out of hospital to sit the exam.
“However, there were some concerns with the length of time I would be away from the hospital because I was breastfeeding at the time,” she said.
“So we just had to plan things really well, and make sure Ben was fed just before I left and have some formula on standby just in case.
“Time that I would normally invest into final revision was instead spent learning about breastfeeding and caring for my new baby.”
“Many people doubted my ability to continue studying whilst starting a family, but their scepticism just made me all the more determined to prove them wrong.
“I don’t back down from challenges easily and this was at forefront of my mind when I left the hospital to attend my exam.”
Ms Maudsley said she was still on an emotional high during the exam, but was tired, sore and distracted, and “couldn’t wait” to get back to her new little family.
On return from maternity leave, she continued her degree while still working full time and caring for her young child. During this time, she became pregnant again, recently giving birth to Ashley, now five weeks.
There were a number of challenges to tackling tertiary study with a young family, she said.
“Attending classes was easy, because all the subjects were offered in the evenings or on the weekend.
“However, finding the time to study was difficult. It forced me into a routine of studying before work after I dropped Ben off at day care, during my lunch breaks and every other night.”
Ms Maudsley said she chose to study accounting as she has always been interested in working with numbers, in particular budgets and analysis.
“I find solving financial problems very rewarding and enjoy formulating budget scenarios for friends and family,” she said.
Ms Maudsley said she had to swap some ‘me time’ for study so she could still enjoy spending time with her husband and children.
“Studying without feeling guilty about spending less time with my family was the hardest challenge,” she said.
“However, I have a wonderful husband who has supported me through my degree and I hope that my husband and children can look back and be proud of me for what I have achieved.”
Ms Maudsley said one of the first books she ever read to Ben was an Economics textbook.
“Thankfully there were lots of colourful charts to keep him interested,” she laughs.
Ms Maudsley said she intended to pursue a career in accounting or a position that utilised the skills and knowledge she has learned throughout her degree.
“I would particularly like to combine my passion for analysis, customer service and budgeting and look forward to the opportunities that this will bring.”
Issued 12 April, 2012
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175.