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Commercial Education Society of Australia

Virginia McMurray

Virginia McMurray is the Academic Manager of Passmores’ Business & Management College in Newcastle. Her role involves curriculum development and providing support to the teaching staff whilst also monitoring the academic progress of students to ensure they achieve their full potential. Despite this role, teaching has always been, and continues to be, her passion. She currently teaches Information Technology, Business Management, Office Management, Professional Development and Resume Writing.

Her qualifications include a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment, a Diploma in Human Resource Management, a Certificate IV in Information Technology and a Teaching Certificate from the Commercial Education Society of Australia. She is currently studying her MBA and a Masters in Human Resource Management through Newcastle University.

Virginia is married to Andrew and they have three daughters. She enjoys gardening, studying and reading.

Yearning to learn: the surprising allure of study
Virginia McMurray

I recently read with interest the remarkable story of an 86 year old who was preparing to accept her PhD in English Literature through the University of Newcastle. Her wonderful achievement was the culmination of many years of study over her entire life. The article spoke of how much education had enriched her life and how age had been no barrier to her enjoying her study years. Although it’s an opinion I hear often, until recently, I don’t think I fully comprehended the extent of the sentiment.

What is it about education that enriches and rewards? People study and continue to study for a variety of reasons. As educators, we’re often privy to those reasons — to open doors of opportunity; to equip us to do our job better or more effectively; to assist us as we deal with change or so we’re not left behind. It often seems to me that embarking on a course of study comes from a perceived necessity — because we have to. However, once we begin our studies we discover that this new undertaking often brings benefits and rewards we hadn’t expected.

This has certainly been the case for me. At 47, embarking on further study was certainly not on my ‘to do list’. My career was stable and I didn’t really think I needed to consider adding to my qualifications. However, a conversation with a colleague who had recently completed her Masters in Marketing got me thinking that perhaps this perspective was no longer applicable. I have always advocated the concept of lifelong learning, but it was about time that I listened to my own rhetoric and opened myself up to the possibility of enhancing my skills. The real surprise for me, however, has not been that I find myself back in a university lecture room (albeit it at 9pm at night) but that I find the experience so enjoyable! My decision to go back to study is certainly proving to be a very good one.

So, what is it about the study that I enjoy? Well, it’s difficult to say — certainly the three subjects I’ve completed so far have been outstanding in content and have really equipped me with some useful skills and perspectives, particularly in regard to management. However, it’s more than just the course — often it’s the intangible things that I’ve appreciated the most; engaging with others and learning from their perspectives and experiences; getting back into reading journal articles again; the increase in self confidence; changing my perspective and taking the time just to consider things a little more deeply. The whole concept of critical thinking intrigues me and although I have much to learn in this area, I am aware of my own progress and the benefits it brings for me. Granted there are times when I wonder why I thought doing an MBA would be a great idea — generally at 3am in the morning with an assessment due. However, those moments of hesitation are rare. On the whole I’m delighted with the process and the benefits to my professional development that have resulted. I think I’ve gained a new appreciation for Henry Ford’s famous quote:

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

I hope my yearning for learning extends beyond the next three years — and the pleasant surprises continue!

Virginia McMurray
Certificate IV in Training & Assessment, Diploma in Human Resource Management, Certificate IV in Information Technology, CESA Teaching Certificate


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