About Lindsay - USQ Student Blogger

Hello I'm Lindsay from Laidley, a distance education student from USQ Toowoomba. This is my first year as a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) student. I come from an Arts/Law background (double degree) and am transitioning careers (Hopefully!) after having practised as a regional lawyer for the past several years. Initially enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning online at USQ Toowoomba, I chose to transfer into the Bachelor of Science (Psychology). After satisfying some prerequisites I may yet transfer over to the Graduate Diploma of Psychological Studies or simply remain in the current degree until graduation. The beauty of either choice is that my previous studies are recognised, by way of exemptions in the Bachelor of Science (Psychology) - up to 8 courses - or through the structure of the GDPS which only requires graduates to complete 8 courses on top of 3 intro prerequisites (to be completed prior to applying for the GDPS). Potentially I could complete the equivalent of an undergraduate psychology degree in around 2 years part time and 1 year full time, and then it's on to Honours and a PhD or residency (Hopefully!). Whilst I have come from a professional vocational background and am headed into the professions again, I am in to all things literary, arty, and creative and may pick up some creative arts studies at USQ in the near future. My true passion is creative writing, and I find everything that I have done in life to be a cauldron of mysterious mixtures in which I stir the silver ladle to draw out my fictional worlds and characters. But I'm not just bookish! I love to run, run, run, and climb, climb, climb, and spend hours every week pushing my limits and boosting my brain with healthy endorphins. As a youngster I was into competitive Taekwondo and won gold and silver medals in various Tournaments. These days, as a father of three, with wife and mortgage, I have opted for dodging traffic (Sometimes!) rather than feet and fists, when I'm on my long distance runs, or avoiding the odd falling rock when I climbing Table Top mountain. At the end of the day I'm running after achievement and a happy blend of the physical and the intellectual. I love academia and a university that offers flexibility for people with busy schedules. The USQ distance education programme, which I am honoured to undertake, gives me all the time I need to juggle a fairly busy lifestyle - study, sports, work, and family. I can't wait for semester 2 - I'll hit the ground running.

Dreams start early

As a father and having worked for a number of years in children’s theatre and after-school care, children have often amazed me with the confidence they have in talking about what they are going to be when they grow up. They never say “What I would like to be if this happens or that happens”, or a thousand other qualifications, but simply: “This is what I am going to be”. Sure kids change their minds, some more than others, but the dreams held by a child at a given moment in their lives stay alive as real and achievable goals.

With a little help from my double-trouble twins (OK a lot of help!) we came up with a story as viewed through the eyes of a child, which reflects the above phenomenon – how dreams start and where children believe the dreams will take them.

So what happens along the way to some of us that causes us to forget our dreams or put the dream off until tomorrow. “Tomorrow” – that place of the future where all sorts of wonderful things are going to happen if you ever actually get there? To a child, having a dream turn into reality is as natural as falling asleep, night follows day, eating an apple or a pear, or putting mud on your face. It is a natural expectation for a child that if I say it, I will do it.

So I asked myself “Why did I wait so long to make my first dream come true?” And then I asked myself “Why did I wait so long to move on to the next dream…” (I’ve always been one of those kids that has a lot of dreams) “…knowing that dreams can become reality”. The answer was clear. Unlike a child, I lost confidence in my dreams, so much so that even after achieving one dream I still doubted whether I could turn another dream into a reality. I was afraid of shadows and the shadows returned again – shadows that were no more than tree branches scratching at the windows. Then, as with the first dream, I opened the window, I stepped outside the door, I went beyond my familiar comfort zone, and I started to climb that new tree, the very tree that scared me. And I thought what would have happened to my dreams if I stayed frightened of the shadows, and what would have happened if I didn’t find this new tree to climb. The answer was clear: a different reality would have happened, different to the one I that the child inside of me who dares to dream wants in his life.

At USQ we have the possibilities, the courses, the degrees, the international reputation to help you turn your dreams into reality. And you don’t have to do it all on your own. We have the people to help you negotiate your way through the shadows. Lecturers, librarians, ICT support, Student Relationship Officers, Learning Centre Staff, students, a whole community waiting to work with you toward your dreams. A place where once again you can have the confidence to believe that your dreams are a natural expectation.

This is Lindsay Nicholson, father of three, husband, former lawyer from another life, current USQ Bachelor of Science (Psychology) student, signing off and wishing you happy dreams and prosperous realities. The eye lids are feeling heavy. I think I will go and have a dream. Nighty night…

New Beginnings

“Did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to go and then you got the feeling that you wanted to stay?” (Jimmy Durante).

After having accomplished a Double Degree in Arts (Honours) and Law, having myself admitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland and High Court of Australia as a solicitor, and then practising for several years – guess what? I got the feeling – you know, that I wanted to go. Stronger than the feeling that I wanted to stay, it won out!

The Double Trouble

And here I am, USQ, Bachelor of Science (Psychology) student, 12 years older than when I first started on my tertiary path, two more children (*pigeon pair twins – the double trouble) in addition to my oldest daughter who has followed this journey with my very patient wife (no photos Dad! I find a compromise).

Twins draw Mum and Older Sister

So, with a few more wrinkles, especially around the eyes, and a motivation stronger than ever over this exciting new chapter in the Lindsay Tome of Tertiary Treasures, I hesitated for about a second. I realised that I wanted to leave the old profession and start anew, transition careers, reinvent myself, and I remembered 40 is the new 20 and I might live til I’m 120 so there is plenty of time ahead. To be honest, I can see myself studying at 60, 70, 80 etcetera…Never too late to start and what a place to start! USQ, external (my cup of tea with family of three – oh yeah, and the missus – oops!), online, and on campus programmes and courses across three campuses – Toowoomba, Fraser Coast, and Springfield.

External mode suits me down to the ground with family and work commitments. The academic social forums keep me active and connected, and regularly involved in exciting discussions and debates with my peers. The supportive and friendly nature of staff and students has made this journey so much easier for me, reassuring me every step of the way that I am a part of a real tertiary family who cares about their students irrespective of course, study mode, state or continent.

Daughter Lily Cuddling Dad After Hard Night’s Study

And the bonus! Because I already have a couple degrees tucked into my belt, I am able to transfer to the Graduate Diploma of Psychological Studies first semester next year – once I complete my 3 introductory prerequisites this 2nd semester and 3rd semester of 2012 – or stay in the Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and receive credit for prior study. Either way, I’m heading strong and fast to my next vocation as a psychologist. What a world, what a country, what a university!

So if you’re thinking about it, don’t think too long, dangling toes in the deep end is fine for a while, but diving in, doing the laps, and winning your own sprint or marathon  (whatever you fancy – plenty of courses and study modes to suit sprinters and long distance runners if you’ll excuse the metaphors) – well there is nothing more exhilarating.

I hope to see you at the finish line, but you’ll need to enrol first!