Return to study with Mark Tilders

Transcript

NARRATION:
La Trobe University student Mark Tilders wants you to know that mature-agestudy is possible for anyone.
MARK TILDERS:
My wife said one night- after two weeks holiday and she was going back to work the next day- that she was really looking forward to going back to work. I love my job, but I don’t really look forward to going to work. I think there was something missing and it took me a long time to probably realise that I was missing something.
Up until then, I guess, I just wanted to stay at work because I did enjoy it- it was good security and it was good money, but something was missing and I think University was it. So I decided from that moment on that it was time to return to study.
NARRATION:
It had been fifteen years since Mark had last ‘hit the books’ and completed his HSC (High School Certificate).
MARK TILDERS:
I guess the first apprehensive feeling I had, was wondering if I was capable of the workload?  It had been such a long time since I last studied, so I wasn’t certain whether I would be still capable of completing the workload. And I guess socially fitting as well. I had this weird idea that I’d be the oldest person at University!
NARRATION:
With a little help from Leo White from La Trobe University’s Future Student Centre, Mark applied to study Social Work and Human Services at the Albury-Wodonga campus. Now eighteen months later, he is half way through a double degree and working two jobs: one at a homeless youth refuge, and casually at a local piggery.
MARK TILDERS:

I guess University only takes up twenty six weeks of the year, so the way I looked upon it is that it’s only half a year that I’ve really got to focus, and I’ve really got to work hard… and the other twenty six weeks of the year it’s back to being my time.

So I just felt that for half of the year it wasn’t really much to ask to put into your University studies.

The best thing about University, and the people here, is that nobody’s normal, everyone’s different and that’s what makes it normal here! So we don’t look at each other, we don’t single each other out. We are all in this together, so we are a pretty tight knit bunch and it’s really nice for that. And also we have similar out looks I find in life, we think the same way so we have a lot more in common even though we are so different we still have a fair bit in common.

NARRATION:
Although he is very busy, Mark spends more time with his children, loves working at the homeless youth hostel and looks forward to going to work.
MARK TILDERS:
Seeing the fact that the family system wasn’t breaking down, and if anything it was getting stronger because I was really enjoying myself. I was looking forward to going to University each day and I actually did get to spend a lot more time with my children and I thoroughly enjoyed that. My advice for mature-age students is that it’s not intelligence that gets you through, it’s hard work. So if you have come from a working background, (which most mature-agestudents do) they will find it relatively easy to just hit the books and start working. I know I did. Any spare time I had during the day I felt guilty about not working, so I’d hit the books and start reading. So mature-age students really have that advantage over school leavers, I believe.
NARRATION:
Mark has been awarded one of La Trobe’s exchange scholarships to study at Melmo University in Sweden for six months in 2009.
MARK TILDERS:
Going to Sweden for six months.. It probably hasn’t sunk in yet. Eighteen months ago I just wanted to get accepted in to University, and now I’ve got this opportunity. It just blows my mind away, that a person like myself- who I find a humble person- has got the opportunity to study in Sweden, and I’m forever grateful to the University for giving me that opportunity.

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