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"University for the Real World": Add External Study Options!

This petition had 78 supporters

My name is Hannah and I have bipolar disorder. Because of this, I require flexibility in my study program to be able to study online/externally during episodes of depression, and internally during episodes of mania and the “normal” states of mind in between.

Most universities in Australia offer a large majority of their courses externally, from Bachelor of Arts to even science degrees: University of Southern Queensland, Griffith University, University of New England, Deakin University, Macquarie University, Southern Cross University, Monash University and La Trobe, just to name a few. However, such options don’t suit my needs, or many other peoples’ needs, as the option to study on-campus is also essential. Because of where I live, my instability, along with financial stresses stopping me from moving closer to said universities, I have no option but to study entirely online or entirely on campus. I should not have to swap from university to university based on my fluctuating mental health - especially when offering external as an option is the norm that most universities offer. Not only is it ridiculous, but transferring from university to university adds many layers of stress to an already stressful time.

Given that QUT is the university of technology, and is innovative, flexible and the “university for the real world”, there must be more external undergraduate study options as one in four people are affected by a mental health condition. I do have a disability advisor who has put many considerations in place to make my time easier, but he can only do as much as the university’s structure allows. Extra time in exams to work, time in exams to step outside and breathe, extensions, being able to leave a tutorial when I need to and avoiding group work because of the unpredictability of bipolar helps, but doesn’t do anything for the weeks when I, and many other people, are literally unable to get out of bed, eat, shower, let alone driving in a depressed state of mind or catching public transport for over an hour, one way. I created a group on Facebook regarding mental health. The group idea gained over 100 likes in support almost instantly, and 85 members in the group - and imagine how many people the group hasn’t reached, plus its still only new. Adding external study options to the courses would help those who are struggling with severe anxiety, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder etc. AND would also benefit students with a busy lifestyle and full time job.

Please consider adding more external options to your courses. I, and other students, shouldn’t have to be put under more stress just because the local universities, or the universities with preferred course outlines and structures, are behind the times.

By making this change, you will make many students' lives easier.

Thank you,

Hannah Smith

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