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Off-Campus Student Stories

Karen's Story

Phoebe Ryder

Bachelor of Nursing Science - JCU Mount Isa, Murtupuni

“My decision to study Nursing Science at the JCU Mt Isa Study Centre was easy as it allowed me to stay in my hometown surrounded by a strong support network of family and friends.  I had also seen first-hand the positive impact of the JCU Centre for Rural and Remote Health on outback communities in my region, and was keen to be a part of this work through further education.

Studying at the Mount Isa Study Centre has been amazing.  The smaller cohort sizes allows for more one-on-one teaching and greater exposure to practical learning.  It also means we are a close-knit group who support each other to overcome any challenges we face along the way.

My advice to new students would be to use all the free resources and services that are made available to you. Sometimes things can get overwhelming, but JCU has the support programs in place to help you succeed.”

Alecia Elsing

Bachelor of Nursing Science - JCU Mackay

Choosing to study Nursing Science at the JCU Mackay Study Centre was an easy decision for me. I had discussed university options with other nursing students in the Mackay community and I was confident that JCU was the best option.  Studying at a campus located on a hospital site has lots of benefits for experiential learning and easy access to experienced healthcare professionals.

There are many benefits to studying at the JCU Mackay Study Centre. Smaller classes mean we get to build close friendships with our peers, and their support has helped me to get through my degree. We are also able to build personal connections with the academic staff, which means they understand our individual strengths, challenges and learning styles.

Sometimes it can take time to find your purpose and my JCU journey didn’t start until the age of 25.  It has certainly been challenging at times, but I am grateful for the close connections and support of my fellow nursing students and the lecturers. You really have no idea how capable you truly are until you give it a go.”

Phoebe Brennan

Bachelor of Nursing Science - JCU Mackay

“James Cook University has provided me with the unique opportunity to be able to study my area of interest in my hometown.  This meant that I didn’t  have to do a costly relocation in order to receive the same amazing experience as students who attend the main JCU campuses.

JCU Mackay Study Centre is a special campus that helps students in many ways – it has smaller class groups, easy access to resources, and never ending support from passionate academic staff.  JCU has provided me with an exceptional education and specialised support throughout my degree, but especially in my first year when I was new to study.  I have also appreciated on-campus events such as RUOK? Day, which has strengthened relationships between students and staff and increased my sense of belonging to this learning community.

I am so glad that I chose the JCU Mackay campus to complete my degree as I have made so many new special friendships along the way - this has made my university experience even more fulfilling.”

Bianca Off-campus Student

Bianca Rogers

Bachelor of Education - External

“What inspired me to study Early Childhood Education was my dance career. Working with young children, teaching them how to dance and instructing them really captured my love of teaching. At JCU I was able study externally, which fit perfectly into my lifestyle, as I needed to work full-time and I had a young son at the time. Being able to study online in the comfort of my own home outside of work hours was a great, flexible way to study.

The advice that I would offer to future students or people wanting to study at JCU would be to go for it! My mantra that I kept on my wall which helped me to keep going was ‘Stay strong. Stay positive. Stay focused’. Whilst studying, I appreciated the support that I got from other students and lecturers. Sometimes it may feel like you are alone, but the help is there if you need it and that’s what I loved about my course and JCU.”

Alison RichardsAilson and her Child, Off-campus Studnts

Bachelor of Social Work - External

“I was working full time when I decided to go to uni, so I wanted the flexibility of studying externally. Since then, I have had a child and returned to work part-time while continuing to study.

For me it’s really about being adaptable, being able to study when it suits my life, rather than having to fit my life around an on-campus timetable.

If you’re thinking about studying externally, my advice would be just to do it – there’s never going to be a ‘perfect’ time to start. Life goes by so quickly, and sometimes it gets in the way, making it hard to devote time to study.

Be kind to yourself and set achievable goals and email your lecturers if you need help or to clarify things. It’s better to get through two subjects and pass than try to do four and fail them all. I started with just one subject to get the hang of it, and now I do two every study period.”

Claire SmithClaire happy with her text books - JCU Off-Campus Undergraduate Student - Claire

Bachelor of Nursing Science - JCU Mackay Study Centre

"After completing high school in Mackay, I undertook a Certificate 3 in individual support, which really helped solidify that I wanted to study nursing.  I thought my chances of pursuing this dream in Mackay would be slim, as everyone I knew had moved away to study.  I then learned that there was, in fact, a small JCU campus here and quite close by.

I commenced my study with 30 other students, and we became a tight-knit learning community and support group.  The smaller class sizes allowed the lecturers to really get to know us and provide more individualised support.  They were much more approachable when it came to discussing assessment concerns and helping us along the way.

The Study Centre has a strong sense of community - we socialise, fundraise and celebrate milestones together.  In my second year, I signed up to be a JCU Student Ambassador, which involved travelling and inspiring the next generation of nursing students in the region. It's been an amazing opportunity, and I'm so thankful I chose to complete my studies here."

Jaqueline Hardman Jaqueline Sitting

Bachelor of Nursing Science - JCU Mackay Study Centre

“I was very excited when I got offered a position to study a Bachelor of Nursing at the JCU Mackay Study Centre.  I worked in a pharmacy for over a decade and always wanted to be a nurse, but knew university study was going to be challenging with a young family.

Through research and reports, it was clear to me that JCU was the best choice of universities in the Mackay region.  I decided to enrol mid-year as a part-time student to ease myself into university life.  I found the JCU Mackay campus was well equipped to deliver the program with highly knowledgeable and supportive teaching staff.  It also meant that I was able to complete the practical component of my clinical subject close to home, which suited my family life. The campus is a short drive from my home and easily accessible after hours for quiet study time.

Although my experience has been challenging at times, I would not change a thing. The support I have received from the staff and my fellow peers have been the reason for my success so far.”