Shelley Tweedie is on the brink of an exciting and rewarding career as a midwife. Having recently completed a Bachelor of Midwifery at CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury), she's looking forward to transitioning from student midwife to practicing midwife.
Her tutors are confident she'll be every bit as successful in her professional life as she was as a student. They describe her as "very bright, committed and focused" and say she consistently achieved excellent grades and gained exceptional feedback from the midwives she worked with in clinical practice. They also believe Shelley's "great determination and courage" will be an inspiration to others.
Shelley's decision to study midwifery came from a desire to create a secure future for herself and her young daughter.
"After high school I had various jobs and I just basically got to a point in my life where I needed to create some stability," she explains. "I was one of the eldest in a large family so I'd been exposed to midwifery as a child. I knew childbirth to be a significant and unique event and I felt compelled to work with whānau during this time. I felt excited at the thought of midwifery."
The Bachelor of Midwifery uses a blended delivery method of online modules, tutorials and two-week block 'intensives' at the Christchurch campus. Shelley appreciated the flexible style of the programme.
"It really worked for me. I was able to learn at my own pace and schedule it into times that worked around my family. You need good support systems around you though. Like people who can pick the kids up if you can't, financial and emotional support and positive energy around you in your personal life. You also need to have the freedom and time to commit yourself to your studies. It's a demanding course, so passion and support are key to getting through the challenging times."
Shelley especially liked the practical focus of the programme. "It's totally necessary to read and learn about something, but it makes a lot more sense when you experience it in real life. Studying for exams was made a lot easier because we all had stories from our practical experiences that we could share and discuss with each other."
Now a qualified midwife, Shelley is justifiably proud of what she's achieved. "I had never strived for anything academic in my life before. The fact that I've proven to myself that I can achieve what I put my mind to has been one of the biggest personal highlights for me."