I changed careers and discovered my life purpose.

Jemma Goss standing in the middle of swamp water

“I found a cause worth working five days a week for the rest of my life.” This is my Murdoch journey: meet Jemma Goss, a mature age entrant studying a Bachelor of Science double major.

Finding a career you’re passionate about can happen at any age or life stage.

For Jemma Goss, it started with the realisation that her job in the telecommunications industry, whilst a successful one, wasn’t quite the right fit. A decision that would alter the course of her life, she left her job to travel and rekindle her curiosity about the world. It was during these travel adventures that she discovered a passion for sustainability, which ultimately inspired her to look into a Bachelor of Science at Murdoch University as a mature age student. 

“I found a cause worth working five days a week for the rest of my life,” Jemma said. “There is no greater threat facing our global society than climate change and biodiversity loss, and these issues impassioned me to join university as a mature aged student.”

 Accepted into the course through the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) pathway, she joined a village of mature-agers – 65,000 strong since 1975 – to start a journey that was more closely aligned to her life view, knowing she was pursuing a goal both personally purposeful and for a greater good.

While those first days of university were nerve-racking, the Environmental Science and Management major said it was a pleasant surprise to see other mature age (this term means any applicant older than 20) classmates and a supportive community on campus. For Jemma, university as an older student has its advantages and she wouldn’t go back and change anything about her career path, even if that was an option.

I wouldn’t be having the remarkable university experience I am having now if I did,” she said.

“The blessing of maturity means we are, generally, quite comfortable in ourselves, so we’re able to engage in discussions with confidence, build networks with academics, bring wider-world knowledge to the table and go after opportunities.”

If it’s environmental studies you have an interest in, there’s no better place to immerse yourself than in the south-west corner of Western Australia, the nation’s only Global Biodiversity Hotspot. Decades before it was seen as important to be eco-conscious, WA’s second-oldest university championed sustainability and environmentally friendly initiatives. That’s us, Murdoch University. And we’ve remained as committed as ever to passing on this knowledge and enthusiasm to students.

It’s here you’ll meet renowned experts deep in world-class research, have access to real farms and wetlands, and the opportunity to study within the walls of the newly-built Boola Katitjin (“lots of learning” in the Noongar language), a marvel of sustainability and innovation.

For some, nature has always been their calling, from picking pretty flowers as a toddler or that first sight of a magnificent whale breaking through the ocean’s surface. For others, like Jemma, an interest in the environment may have gone undiscovered whilst pursuing a very different profession.

Navigating a new career as an adult can seem daunting at first but there are thousands of graduates who’ve reinvented themselves, so you’ll be in good company. There are support networks and services every step of the way, including academic writing workshops, peer support, and employability services to make sure your time at university is both positive and practical.

If you’re currently weighing up switching careers, Jemma offers this simple question: “…if not now, when?”

At Murdoch, we believe university education should be available to all, even if you didn’t finish high school. Explore our enrolment options for mature age students to get your journey started.

Posted on:

17 Jul 2023

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