Pride beams both ways for mother and daughter graduating together

Pride beams both ways for mother and daughter graduating together

Finishing university is a family celebration for the Theodosi household, with mother Janet and daughter Sophie graduating together at the end of this year.

Janet, a 58-year-old nurse and mother of three, applied to study for her Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing at RMIT to help give her more confidence at work to take on leadership and mentoring roles. 

But her application to study was rejected at first. 

“I just didn’t have enough clinical hours, which was a requirement to get into the course,” Janet said. 

“I ended up contacting the course coordinator, asking them if I could make up the clinical hours while I studied.” 

“They said no, but they encouraged me to apply again once I had completed enough hours.”

Janet said in hindsight, she was glad her application was knocked back.  

“I was able to get more experience by completing the mandated clinical hours, which helped me cope with the course load better. I was also able to connect with more of my colleagues who were studying at the same time,” she said. 

While there is so much emphasis on educating young people, Janet says there is merit in harnessing the experiences older people bring to the workforce. She had only intended to get her diploma and is now studying for her Master of Mental Health Nursing at RMIT. 

“I really do think our life experiences have an impact on the work we do. I can feel it when I’m working with my patients, and this extra study is just going to benefit my patients even more,” she said.

Young woman with brown hair and mature woman with grey hair stand on bridge over river smiling at camera Sophie (L) and Janet (R) Theodosi. Photo source: Janet Theodosi

Daughter Sophie said she could not be prouder of her mum’s achievements.

“I’ve been so impressed with mum,” Sophie said, who will be graduating with her Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communications) at the end of the year.

“It’s been inspiring watching her navigate study, which was something she hadn’t done in years.

“Seeing her so focused on her studies also helped motivate me with my course work.”

Sophie said her university study experience was different to what she imagined. As an extrovert, studying remotely in the thick of the pandemic was tough. She found the lack of social interaction isolating.

“I didn’t have anyone to bounce off ideas or anyone to really compare myself against to track how I was progressing in my studies,” she said. 

“Eventually, I learned I needed to switch off that part of me where I compared what I was doing with my peers and learned to just trust my abilities.”

Sophie said one of the most helpful parts of studying was applying for RMIT’s Equitable Learning Services, which supports students with a disability, long-term illness and/or a mental health condition.

“I know these services were available at RMIT, but I actually didn’t think I was a good candidate for it,” Sophie said, who suffered anxiety during her studies. 

“Being able to get extensions on assignments and extra reading material was so helpful. I regret not reaching out for an Equitable Learning Plan sooner.”

Both mother and daughter are excited to be graduating together at the end of the year. 

“I’m just so proud of Sophie. She has been an amazing support for me during my studies, and I can’t wait to celebrate with her at our graduation,” Janet said.


Story: Shu Shu Zheng

06 December 2022


06 December 2022


  • Student experience

Related News

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.