Career 'with meaning' - and built for travel 

Roland Edwards

Born in Darwin Hospital, Bachelor of Nursing student, Roland Edwards, may end up working there, but not before a lot more overseas travel.

“Nursing first crossed my mind in London, working two jobs—both of which paid very little—and struggling to pay rent and have money left over to travel.

“I had drifted for four years after high school, trying this and that job, traveling and having a good time, but got to the point where I found myself disenchanted with meaningless mindless tasks,” Roland said.

“I looked for professions that might be meaningful and allow me to both work and travel. I chose nursing and I'm confident that I made the right choice.”

Roland studies full time at Charles Darwin University and works to pay the bills. He is a licensed security officer, which brings in occasional work, and he maintains a block of 12 units.

“Doesn't pay much, but it’s regular and keeps me above the poverty line.”

According to Roland, knuckling down to study after a break of four years is perhaps his highest achievement so far. He needed support to make it work for him, he said.

“During that first year, after such a long break, I wasn’t sure I would manage. I developed a taste for money and travel, so it was difficult to return to frugal student life.

“But I was fortunate to have support from my family and I’m fascinated by most aspects of my study. So I stayed in at night, putting my previous life on hold,” he said.

Roland said he found it was quite common for students to question their ability to cope with the workload, so there were lots of support options on and off campus.

“The friendships I developed were really important; the sharing of knowledge at each other's houses, on the phone and via the net.

“There are many sources of advice, both formal and informal, including staff at the university and contact points on the CDU website.

“I found my lecturers willing to listen. CDU’s nursing faculty is well structured and staffed, with a well-balanced learning program,” he said.

Elizabeth Macdonald, Director of Support & Equity Services at Charles Darwin University, said students start the year with fresh energy and commitment, but often find the transition to university life can be challenging.

“More students are electing study part-time, while working, so they need strategies for linking their studies into life as a whole, such as researching assignments and accessing computer rooms after hours,” she said.

Her team is the hub of a university-wide network to help students keep on top of their studies ‘without losing their cool’, she said.