Terrence Catsourakis is a great example of what you can achieve when you set your mind to it. Step-by-step, he has worked his way from the factory floor to graduating with a Bachelor of Business degree from Melbourne Polytechnic.
“I’m proud of myself. It wasn’t easy and I had a lot of other obstacles in my life while I was studying, but I’m so proud to have been able to excel in my studies.”
When Terrence Catsourakis finished secondary school, the last thing he thought he would ever do was return to study.
“I had quite a bumpy road in high school and after high school finished I’d ruled out ever going back to study. I didn’t see the point.”
“But I started to see that my life was going nowhere and then I realised I had no choice. To be honest, the kinds of jobs I had weren’t very good, so I knew I had to go back to school to give myself more opportunities.”
In 2009, Terrence enrolled in the Certificate III in International Trade and soon found that even though studying brought its own challenges, the benefits far outweighed the difficulties.
“It was hard just sitting down in front of a desk again. I worked in manufacturing and that meant standing up all day every day, so to sit down in front of a desk and listen to a teacher and really focus was probably the most challenging thing. But it was also rewarding because I knew every day that I went to school was a step in the right direction.”
“I’d been out of school for so long I needed to just take a first step, but then I found myself surrounded by like-minded people, all there to improve their lives— it creates a really good and dynamic learning environment.”
He enjoyed the experience so much that he continued studying, completing his Certificate III in International Trade, Certificate IV in International Trade, a Diploma of International Business, an Advanced Diploma of International Business, an Associate Degree of International Trade and in 2012 completed his Bachelor of Business with a major in International Trade.
“I needed to slowly get my act together—to program myself in little baby steps. It did require sacrifices and hard work, but school was like paradise compared to the jobs I had been doing.”
From the start of his journey through Melbourne Polytechnic, Terrence found the personalised attention and extra support he needed from his teachers. It was something that made a big difference to his learning and gave him a real sense that Melbourne Polytechnic was a place he genuinely belonged.
“Whenever I was working on an assignment I would go and see my teachers and ask questions to make sure I was on the right path. I think I was probably a little frustrating at times, asking so many questions, but they’d never close the door to you. You know them by their first name and they know you and they’re there to help you.”
Terrence also won two Melbourne Polytechnic study grants as recognition for his hard work. The grants are presented to Melbourne Polytechnic students who “demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to their studies, as well as academic or skills excellence”. The awards provide important acknowledgement and a welcome financial bonus too.
“To tell you the truth, I miss school already and I’m not just telling you that because it’s what I think you want to hear!”
Now, Terrence is looking forward to new job opportunities and finding his dream role in operations management. He is also excited about continuing his studies, just waiting for the day that Melbourne Polytechnic offers a Masters degree in Business.
“I really do believe that this has changed me as a person; primarily, because I have developed a passion and respect for education. It’s like a never-ending road … self development has to continue if you want to excel in whatever field you’re in; you can never stop learning.”
Bachelor of Business