Marilyn turns to uni for a new career 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.”
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 new career
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.