All things being equal, mother of three Sarah Page will graduate this year with a Juris Doctor from Griffith, following a long journey that’s included the disruptions of moving countries several times, the GFC, the birth of her children and doubts around ever achieving her dream of practicing law.
“The experience of studying at Griffith has changed my life,” Sarah said.
“I have been able to achieve marks that I didn’t think were possible, which has opened a lot of doors for me and I’m really excited about my career prospects.”
It’s a career which almost never took off.
American by birth, Sarah studied her undergraduate degree in the U.S., met an Aussie working in Nashville, and the couple eventually made their way to Sydney when suddenly the Global Financial Crisis hit.
When conditions improved, the now married couple decided to relocate again, this time to Switzerland. The postgraduate qualifications in law she’d started took a back seat, again.
“On the way back from Zurich to Sydney I found out I was pregnant with number three and wondered if I could squeeze in one more semester, but my due date was literally the week of final exam,” Sarah recalled.
“I realised that wasn’t going to work and then we got a job offer to move to Brisbane.
“I’d had a break for so many years I was starting to feel it wasn’t going to happen.”
Call it fate or coincidence but once in Brisbane, Sarah saw an ad for Griffith University, googled the words Griffith + postgrad + law degree and the pieces finally came together.
“At Griffith I feel incredibly supported and I feel like my lecturers and staff give me all the avenues of support that I need in order to succeed,” she said.
“At Griffith I feel incredibly supported and I feel like my lecturers and staff give me all the avenues of support that I need in order to succeed”
“I’m a full-time student, working part-time with three young kids at home so my life is very busy (but) the channels of communication are always open so whether its phone calls, emails, video conferencing, it’s all just very easy.
“Having the availability of lectures online allows me to still have a life, but also stay on top of my study.”
Sarah comes from a background of social justice and aims to make a career advocating for those enduring a family breakdown.
“My mother was a social worker and I was really inspired by seeing the passion that she had for advocating in the court system for women and children from disadvantaged or challenging backgrounds,” she said.
“I feel a natural pull to advocate for women because I am one but also children and men as well.”
On graduating Sarah’s looking to work with a judge to learn as much as she can, but says she also has some great opportunities to focus on between now and the end of the year.
“The dream is to be a judge’s associate for a year learning the court system.
“I’ll also be doing some legal aid work volunteering, which is something else Griffith advertised well. They have relationships with clinics that students can work for, so I’ve applied to do a clinic position, next trimester.”