Katherine Donges: juggling a household and online study

Advancements in the online delivery of tertiary education has been a saviour for 37-year-old Katherine Donges.

As a mother of 5 young children, Katherine has been able to further her enjoyment of pregnancy and early childhood through the part-time, online study of a Bachelor of Nursing.

Alongside her study, Katherine works as a breastfeeding phone consultant for the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) and as a Social Media moderator for the Charles Sturt University Student Communications Team.

Katherine recognises the strength of her fellow online peers as she too, manages a busy, family-oriented lifestyle.

“The great thing about the distance cohort is that a lot of them are older than the typical under 25-year-old students you can find on campus. These distance students are juggling life of kids and work.”

“Often, I find myself doing my work and studies of a night-time when everyone else is in bed.”

Katherine says the decision to study Nursing with Charles Sturt in Bathurst was an easy and convenient one.

“I chose CSU as it’s my local campus and I would then have access to the library and its services. I also liked the fact that I could choose to do my whole course via distance education, which makes it possible for me to get a degree while raising children.”

“As a regional university, I felt it was important to give my support… plus my husband used to work for CSU as an Academic, so it already felt like a familiar place to me.”

Like many students when they first graduate high school, Katherine did not know what field of work she wanted to pursue.

Katherine has worked in both the childcare and hospitality industries and completed a Diploma of Remedial Massage Therapy.

“I was never able to work as a remedial massage therapist because I was pregnant with my first child. I then chose to be a stay-at-home mum from then onwards.”

Although Katherine, her husband and their children reside in Bathurst, the Blue Mountains has always held a special place in Katherine’s heart.

Her childhood home backed onto bushland. And alongside her three brothers, Katherine spent most of her time exploring her natural surroundings and riding her bike.

Having had many successes as a cross-country runner as a child, Katherine says she is thankful her children all got the gift of being able to run well.

“I met my husband in the Blue Mountains too. We had a few common friends and soon we were in the same social group… We married when I was 20. I was quite young!”

Just as any mother would be, Katherine says she is extremely biased when it comes to her children.

“We now have 5 beautiful children. 4 of them go to school in Bathurst… I eagerly await the time when my youngest goes to school next year. I will have a little bit more time on my hands, especially as I edge closer to the end of my degree.”

When asked what some important lessons she has learnt from her studies of nursing at Charles Sturt, Katherine mentioned the skills associated with time management.

“As a mature student, I must prioritise what needs to get done. I would also say to future students to not let age stop you. Or if you are currently in a completely different field, do whatever it is you wish you were doing!”

Article written by Brooke Chandler, journalism student