For 52-year-old father of two and fishing enthusiast Andrew Cameron, returning to study two years ago was a matter of demonstrating good example.
“Like any parent I wanted to be a good role model for my kids, and what better way of showing them university is the way to go than by going and doing it yourself!” says the Bay of Plenty man.
Mr Cameron completed his Diploma in Law at Waikato University’s Tauranga campus, and has been accepted into the university’s Bachelors of Laws (LLB) programme based in Hamilton.
He says after 32 years away from an educational facility, returning to full-time study was a life-changing experience. “I’m hooked now – I enjoy studying and learning new things. I had set goals for myself. The first was if I got through the diploma alright, I’d apply to do the degree.”
The diploma gained in Tauranga was the ideal option to set him up towards an LLB without having to uproot the family’s home at Papamoa beach. Mr Cameron considered his two sons’ schooling, the family’s love for the sea and favourite pastime, fishing, and decided a move was not on the cards.
He says it will be tough spending most of his week in Hamilton attending lectures this year, but the sacrifices will be worth it. “My wife has been really understanding and supportive while I trialled being a student again,” says Mr Cameron.
Everyone played their part - when exam time came along, the children understood why dad was always “locked up in the office” and even took pleasure in testing him from the numerous law books around the house. His wife, Kay, always had an ear for him as he recollected lessons learned from a day of lectures.
“The tutors and staff were brilliant, very accommodating and helpful. Plus the flexibility of the course was really good.” Online lectures meant Mr Cameron could listen to them in his own time, and access to the law library’s extensive online databases allowed research to be done from anywhere.
People are often surprised when Mr Cameron tells them what interests him most is the laborious task of researching the law. “The field is so huge and it varies so much…that’s why I like it. I thoroughly enjoy the research aspect of it.”
He says the craving to learn has grown over the years, and he thinks going back to learning as a mature student is giving him that life experience advantage. “I think it helps. As a mature student you have a different perspective because there’s all the experiences in your life you can gather from.”
He is undecided on what path of law he will pursue, saying he is fascinated with the many facets of law. For now, Mr Cameron is intent on a summer of sunny beaches and hooking a snapper or kingfish with his sons, before knuckling down to a few more years on this learning curve.
“I strongly recommend anybody who wants a change of direction to do it, if you’re really keen to change, you can. Like they say, if you’re doing a job you like, you’re not really working.”