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Back in the saddle to further my career

This article appears in: Business and Accounting, Changing careers
STUDENT Emma Host studying at her desk whilst riding a bike

Emma Host is a Darwin local who left high school 20 years ago. She’s had a successful corporate career but some roadblocks on her way to the top of the ladder challenged her to take a new path. Emma is currently completing a Bachelor of Accounting full time at the CDU Darwin Waterfront campus with the goal of furthering her career.

It was an obvious choice for Emma to stay in Darwin to pursue her degree. She explains to us why she is determined to enjoy what she considers the time of her life studying at CDU.  

Cdu student Emma studying on a laptop
It's time to get the degree and show them in writing what I'm made of

Thanks to my Certificate IV qualifications, one in veterinary nursing and one in health administration, I’ve had a very successful career across three different industries, where I was able to rapidly climb the corporate ladder. It's my ability to “bounce” and not specifically my credentials that helped me getting the positions I was vying for.  

Over the years, I’ve had great opportunities like managing large Commonwealth-Government-funded programs and working as an Executive Manager, which were all solid experiences to build my career up.

Unfortunately, whenever a change in senior management would occur, I had to prove what I was capable of all over again. I didn't have the right qualification backing the level I was working at. It was exhausting. That’s when I decided that it was time for me to get the degree and show them in writing what I’m made of.

I want to enjoy the ride

Today, my biggest goal is to enjoy being a uni student. I haven’t challenged my thinking like this in a long time and even though it’s hard, I’m really loving it. The CDU Waterfront campus is stunning. Those views!

View of ocean and park at the cdu darwin waterfront campus

Sure, I want to complete my degree, but I feel like I’m determined enough to do that regardless, so in the meantime I want to enjoy the ride and soak it up. I love the analytical nature of Accounting, but I also love that I’m studying in a beautiful venue and location.

It's a learning curve
CDU STUDENT Emma Host with her bike

I’m a cycling ambassador, sit on a local advisory group for a cycling advocacy organisation, I also am the treasurer of the local off-road cycling club, and race in cycling whenever I get the chance. 

Trying to juggle part-time work, full-time uni and volunteer commitments within the community as well as sports training is challenging. It’s a learning curve and I’m already better at it now than I was when I started ten weeks ago. 

Getting my head around uni expectations is challenging, especially considering that I finished high school 20 years ago. However, there is a lot of support available to students and I have found the other students to be super friendly. It’s great to bounce off each other if we are confused about a task or need to debrief.

Less thinking, more doing

I have made a schedule for each week and I treat it much like my work days. For example, if my calendar is blocked out for two hours of lecture pre-reading then I say no to everything else - including coffee dates! Trust me, it takes every ounce of discipline I have. 

STUDENT Emma Host studying at her desk whilst riding a bike

I also move around regularly to keep my environment fresh. My favourite study locations include the local library, Student lounge at the CDU Waterfront Campus, the egg chair on my deck, the coffee shop down the road, or the standing desk in my room. 

My ultimate advice to other students is “less thinking, more doing”. Have a plan by setting time aside for each unit and shut down distractions like your mobile phone. 

I'm determined to make Accounting easy and fun for others


The highlight so far of this year is getting my first exam and first essay results. Not only it was a relief to do well, but it helped me to know how I was tracking against my perceived expectations

I want to combine my Accounting degree with my communication skills to help grow the financial acumen of people across organisations. I’m conscious that numbers are not everybody’s game, but in order to be sustainable, economic impacts must be understood. I’m determined to make it easy and fun for others.

I’m lucky that I have many mentors who have helped me arrive at where I am now and continue to support me throughout my study journey, but Dr Kalotina Halkitis is one lecturer who deserves special mention. She teaches a unit I know very well but is always so bubbly and inspiring, that it keeps things really interesting. As a new student. I’m grateful that she’s so friendly and approachable.

There has never been a better time to further your education. Whether for professional development or to reach that lofty state of self-actualisation, a Business or Accounting degree can open the door to your dream career. Find out what courses you could start next semester.

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