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Work or study? It is a decision no school-leaver takes lightly. But Anika Alam found the perfect balance at USQ.
Work or study? It is a decision no school-leaver takes lightly. But Anika Alam found the perfect balance at USQ. Contributed

Study versus work, and why you can have both

AS THOUSANDS of Year 12 students across Queensland nervously await their OP score to be released on December 15, Anika Alam is feeling for them.  

She remembers how nervous she felt waiting for her result three years ago when she finished high school.  

"I was scared," she said.  

"I was really worried but at the same time I knew it was not the end of the world, whatever happens, happens for a reason."  

Alam, 20, had arrived in Australia from Bangladesh with her family in 2012 when she was 14 years old and studied hard at school in Toowoomba.  

Faced with the daunting decision of whether to head straight to university, or jump head-first into the workforce, it was the possibility of doing both at the same time that led her to the University of Southern Queensland.  

Alam enrolled in a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biology and Human Physiology, completing her first year on-campus.  

"I looked at the reviews and found USQ delivers this degree really well. There was no need to move too far away to study," she said.  

Anika Alam
Anika Alam said the ability to work both on-campus, and online, made all the difference to her ability to balance work, study and a scholarship. Contributed

In her second year, she moved some of her subjects online, which freed up more time to balance her studies with her work as a medical receptionist at a local hospital as well as the scholarship she received as a student researcher at USQ's Centre for Crop Health.  

"It was better for me because I study better when I'm at home. I can listen to the online recording of each lecture again and again and when I don't understand something I can pause and write my notes," she said.  

Alam continued to study some of her courses online during her third and final year this year to take advantage of the flexible hours.  

"Some courses were offered on-campus, but after looking at the course outline, I realised I was able to study from home which was better for me. It was great being able to choose," she said.  

Her experience of university life also stands out against many of her peers.  

"I have friends studying at other universities and they say because it's a large cohort and there are so many students that most of the time they don't get to have good contact with the lecturers," she said.  

"If they email the lecturer, they may hear back a week later.  

"At USQ, if I email my lecturer tonight, I would most likely get an answer by tomorrow morning.  

"The whole experience here at USQ has been so great."  

USQ offers flexible study options, personalised support and a variety of postgraduate degree levels, all of which support students in gaining industry-respected qualifications.   

In the Good Universities Guide 2019 released on September 24, USQ once again led the way in graduate employment rates and median starting salary.  

It revealed USQ graduates had the highest median salary in Australia at $63,800 and found that 80.5 per cent of graduates found full-time employment within four months of finishing their course - more than any other university in Australia.  

Anika Alam
Anika’s advice for school leavers receiving their OP scores, was to not stress and know there is always another way to get to where you want to be. Contributed

Alam's advice to school leavers feeling anxious about their OP results is that it's not the be all and end all.  

There is always a way to get to where you want to be and sometimes when life doesn't go to plan, new opportunities you might never have thought of will arise.  

"All the experiences I've gained, the scholarship, the work I'm doing is a big thing," Alam said.    

"As long as you work hard and expand your networks, you will get your outcome one day."  

Alam now has plans to continue postgraduate studies in the hope of becoming an optometrist and running her own eyewear business down the track.  

Applications are now open for Semester 1 at USQ for 2019, closing February 18, 2019 whether applying through QTAC or directly to USQ