WHEN Zehra Rabbani reached a critical point in her professional life, she knew that to advance further she had to return to university and complete a university degree.

Her biggest concern, though, was whether she would have to sacrifice her career.

Similar to many career- or family-focused individuals, Zehra found it difficult to imagine how she could do a degree without putting everything else on hold.

As Zehra delved deeper into different university offerings, she began to overcome her fears about undertaking a degree.

Griffith University’s flexible options, in particular, were an important factor in her realisation that she could fit study in with her life.

“My biggest concern was having to backtrack or put my career on hold, as well as the consequences of giving up my social life,” she said.

The different types of study options — online or in-class, full-time or part-time — helped her work out the practicality of completing a degree.

“Studying online gave me the flexibility to work around my full-time job, which meant that I didn’t have to sacrifice my career,” said Zehra, “I was able to watch my lectures online, study on my own terms and still felt so supported.”

Zehra completed her Bachelor of Business with majors in marketing and management in 2018. She highly recommends the flexible study path for other savvy professionals.

“It feels like a huge achievement,” Zehra said. “All the hard work was definitely worth it in the end, and it feels as though the sky is the limit.”

The success didn’t come without some trade-offs. Throughout Zehra’s degree, she transitioned from studying online, to part-time and then to full-time.

“When I first made the decision to study at Griffith, I was working full-time although was motivated to start quickly,” she said.

As she progressed through her degree, Zehra decided she was at a stage to cut back working hours and focus more on studying and extra-curricular activities.

“In my final years, I was able to transition to part-time and then full-time study with the help of trimester three,” Zehra said.

“I knew that if I had to drop a course throughout the year I could pick it up in trimester three, as work typically slows down around that time of year”.

In addition to flexible study options, building a strong support system helped her make a success of her university experience.

“I really immersed myself in university life, and I started to reap all of the rewards,” she said.

“I was part of the Griffith Business School Leadership Program and was a part of Griffith’s Employment Relations & Human Resource Society.”

Zehra encouraged others to get involved in the university culture and extra-curricular activities. She said, “It was a great way to meet new people and make new friends who are on the same wavelength.”

By Lauren Thompson