New career begins at 60!

STARTING university and embarking on a new career at 60 years of age isn’t fazing Marilyn (Lyn) Smythe of Maryborough.

Having just completed the Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP) at USQHub@Maryborough, the massage therapist is excited about her expected acceptance into a University of Southern Queensland (USQ) undergraduate program for next year.

“As my step-son said when told I was going to university: ‘Life begins at 60!’”

While waiting for the results of her final TPP exam, Ms Smythe has been perusing the courses involved in the USQ program of her choice – Bachelor of Arts majoring in history and Australian studies.

“The courses are all really interesting,” Ms Smythe said. “I can’t wait to get started.”

career; university; tertiary; history; politics; Australia.

Marilyn (Lyn) Smythe of Maryborough looks forward to learning more about Australian politics.

The grandmother of two young girls said that although she was a qualified massage therapist and had run her own business for the past 12 years, she did not have degree level education.

“I left school on my 15th birthday, in my third year of high school which today is equivalent to Year 9.

“Over the years I’ve been very lucky in securing really good jobs. Spending four years in the Navy led to other defence-related administration jobs”.

“In 1998 I felt it was time to leave Sydney and as my family was now in Queensland, I moved to the Sunshine Coast. Because of the difficulty in securing an office job, when an opportunity arose for me to enrol in a massage course at Nambour TAFE I took that opportunity.

“After moving to Maryborough in 2003, I opened a remedial massage clinic with my partner, which I continued until starting TPP at USQ in July.”

“Because of physical strains of doing massages, most therapists remain in the business for only four or five years. I was in business for 12 years and was really starting to feel the effects.

“I’m interested in doing research either in the political realm or for books and documentaries. Being able to work in a new career from home would be ideal.

“My USQ studies will be mostly external and I’ll be able to use the University’s facilities in Maryborough and Hervey Bay.”

Ms Smythe urges anyone who is thinking about applying for university to give it a go. For those who haven’t studied for some time, she recommends enrolling in TPP first to get a feel for university without committing too far ahead.

“You don’t know what you can do until you take that first step,” Ms Smythe said.

“And you’ll get so much support from the lecturers and other staff at USQ. The TPP course doesn’t cost anything. If you need a change in career, just give it a go. I thoroughly enjoyed doing TPP.”

Kick start your career in Maryborough

USQ Vice Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas said almost 50 course enrolments in TPP and Head start with a 90% retention rate had been achieved at USQHub@Maryborough since it opened in July.

“More than 30 students enrolled in USQ programs living in the Maryborough region are also accessing the Hub services,” Professor Thomas said.

For more study and career information available at USQHub@Maryborough please visit:


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Discovering a new career in Maryborough

DIGGING into a social media web site has unearthed a promising future for Annette Seymour of Maryborough.

The 52-year-old mother of four, is excited about becoming an archaeologist thanks to her friend’s Facebook comments about experiences at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ).

Originally from Tamworth in New South Wales, the proud Anaiwan/Wiradjuri woman had never dreamt that university was possible for her until she read online about USQ in Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

“My friend posted some comments about USQ on the Fraser Coast Event’s page so I thought I’d check it out and see what university was all about.

“She encouraged me to apply for uni, saying there was no reason why I couldn’t. I put the form in for IHEPP (Indigenous Higher Education Pathways Program), did the aptitude test and passed.

“It was daunting but I did it and now I’m excited about starting a Bachelor of Arts majoring in archaeology next year.”

USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett said the IHEPP provided access to tertiary study for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who for social, economic and cultural reasons, have missed out on educational opportunities at various stages of their lives.

“Successful completion of the IHEPP leads to admission to specified undergraduate award programs of the University,” Mr Langabeer said.

“While Annette did IHEPP externally, she had full access to USQ facilities at the new study hub in Maryborough throughout the six-month course.”

Located in Sussex Street, the USQHub@Maryborough opened in July and provides face-to-face support for students enrolled in the Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP) and for school students enrolled in introductory Head Start courses where first-year USQ courses can be completed while students are still at school.

Intensive TPP and Head Start courses are offered in Semester 3, which runs during the Christmas-New Year school holiday period.

Ms Seymour recently sat her final IHEPP exam and is awaiting the results. Once her successful completion is official, her undergraduate degree enrolment will also be confirmed.

“It’s looking good so far,” she said. “I’m especially excited that I’ll be able to again use the resources at the USQ study hub in Maryborough while studying externally.”

A career in archaeology that will serve her well in retirement is a far cry from “picking up odd jobs” as she has done since high school.

“I’ve always been interested in archaeology but at school I was mostly playing sport. I was also very good at Maths – I finished in the top 10 in New South Wales – and I liked the sciences.

“I’m also into genealogy and want to get into preservation and archiving, so doing the USQ degree is an avenue to do that.

“I get to dig ‘em up and preserve ‘em as well! How good is that?” she laughed.

“Ideally I’d love to dig in my ancestors’ areas around Tamworth, Armidale or Wellington in New South Wales, or locally on Fraser Island or at Maryborough’s old township site, as a start. Basically, anywhere I can get my teeth into something!”

Ms Seymour said she was really grateful for the support of her partner Jane Setter and their four children aged 23, 21, 18 and 16 years.

“Jane takes care of the day-to-day things while I’m studying and the kids are quite independent now.”

Mr Langabeer said 49 course enrolments in TPP and Head start with a 90% retention rate had been achieved at USQHub@Maryborough since it opened just six months ago.

“The first cohort of the TPP, IHEPP and Head start students at USQHub@Maryborough have just finished exams and awaiting results to gain access into the undergraduate degrees,” Mr Langabeer said.

“These students are good examples and are leading the way for many others to follow in their footsteps.

“More than 30 students enrolled in USQ programs living in the Maryborough region are accessing the Hub services too.”


Photo: Annette Seymour is looking forward to studying archaeology externally while using the university resources at USQHub@Maryborough next year.

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Treat yourself to a break this Christmas

With the festive season just around the corner, a celebration of National Psychology Week at University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast on Thursday November 13 offered a timely reminder to students and staff about maintaining a balanced lifestyle.

Visiting psychologist Leisa Roder said the Christmas-New Year period was often a high stress period so for anyone already struggling with life balance, it was important they took some time to relax while keeping up with all the pressures.

“It would be great if everyone practiced looking after themselves and used relaxation and self-care strategies such as exercise at least three to four times a week,” Ms Roder said.

USQ psychology lecturer Dr Michelle Adamson said research showed that making sustainable behaviour change was not a one-off decision but a process involving a number of steps.

Those steps involved wanting change, thinking about the benefits, reflecting on the barriers, making an action plan, taking action, building support, rewarding successes and managing any relapses.

Meanwhile, a report conducted by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) found that, for the first time, men have significantly higher levels of wellbeing than women.

Released to launch National Psychology Week (9-15 November) the Stress and Wellbeing in Australia survey 2014 suggested this year was a tougher for women, with the fairer sex reporting significantly higher levels of stress.

More than half (53%) of Australian women cited personal financial issues as a major source of stress, compared to just 44 per cent of men. Correspondingly, more than half (52%) of all women reported family issues as a major source of stress compared to just 38 per cent of men.

The APS provides a free referral service for the general public, GPs and other health professionals who are seeking the advice and assistance of a psychologist at To access detailed advice about managing stress, you may view the APS tip-sheet here.

Photo: Attending the USQ Fraser Coast National Psychology Week breakfast celebration are (l-r) USQ lecturer Dr Michelle Adamson, psychologist Leisa Roder, Judy McLaughlin and Denise Girdlestone.