Juggling uni, work and a broken foot

There are many reasons people choose to study at a tertiary level but for 22 year-old Sam Sparks, a severe foot injury brought him to the La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga campus.

studentThe third-year Bachelor of Business student was undertaking an apprenticeship to be a chef—which he finished after his first semester at uni— when he broke his foot in 2009. Sam had always thought to go to university upon the completion of his apprenticeship but the injury sped up the process.

‘This obviously made it hard for me to work because I need to be on my feet all day as a chef. I had always planned to go to university to do a business course once I had finished my apprenticeship.’

‘As soon as I was diagnosed and realised rehabilitation was a yearlong process, I decided that it would be best for me to start my course early considering I get bored pretty easily, so sitting at home doing nothing was not an option,’ says Sam.

‘I enrolled and spent the first year juggling uni work, my rehab for my foot, my final semester of trade school for my apprenticeship at TAFE and working when it was possible with my foot.’

Sam now works part-time as a qualified chef while studying and switches to full-time work during the holidays.  However, staffing shortages where he works means he sometimes has to work full-time while studying.

‘It can be a bit hard at times, but with my experience as a chef I am used to long days. My work with university is also a lot different to what I do at work, so I don't mind doing the extra hours, he says.’

‘Time management is the key, I can't afford to leave essays and other assessments until the last minute, and I always start revising for exams before the semester finishes. My work is also great and can adjust my hours for me when needed.’

After winning a $10,000 scholarship through La Trobe, Sam spent a semester at the University of Leicester through La Trobe’s International Exchange Program. It was this experience that has motivated Sam to spend a gap year travelling abroad after he finishes his degree and before pursuing post-graduate studies.

‘I would like to live and work as a chef for a while in England or the USA. I have developed a passion for travelling recently, after undertaking a semester exchange in England last year and touring through Europe prior to this,’ he says.

‘I definitely aim to complete post-graduate work, whether it is a Masters or possibly even a PhD in the future. I enjoy studying, so I do not see why I wouldn't progress my education further.’

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Meghan Lodwick

La Trobe University Communications Officer
T:  03 9479 5353 M:  0418 495 941 E: M.Lodwick@latrobe.edu.au