Determination and commitment to her studies meant it was not uncommon for University of Tasmania graduate Ashlee Lowe to bring a little visitor to her classes.
The mother-of-two graduated with a Bachelor of Education from UTAS on Saturday as part of its winter graduations in Launceston, but it was not an easy road for the family.
“I used to take Olivia (her one-year-old daughter) to my classes with me when she was born, or my mum would look after her for me and I’d sneak out to feed,” she said.
Mrs Lowe studied both part and full time to complete her degree and carried and birthed both her children during that time.
She said she didn’t feel like she was particularly special but she was determined to complete her studies.
“I just didn’t give myself the option to not finish,” she said.
Graduation for Mrs Lowe was a real team effort, with her mum Elizabeth Webber helping out.
“Mum used to look after the kids for me a lot, we were lucky we had that family support,” Mrs Lowe said.
Family support that even extended to Mrs Webber taking the kids to the uni cafe and waiting for Mrs Lowe to come and feed Olivia between classes.
“The university was so flexible, they allowed me to bring Olivia in to classes when I needed to and allowed me to do part-time study,” she said.
“I don’t think I would have been able to do it if not for the flexibility.”
However, it wasn’t just that Mrs Lowe added to her plate during her studies, as part of one of her units she established a mum’s boot camp program, which she still runs.
“I just found there was a huge need for it in Launceston, but it’s become a bit of a therapy session I think.”
The boot camp is run from the Northern Suburbs Community Centre.
Mrs Webber said her daughter was an inspiration to the whole family, but particularly to her.
“She has inspired me to go back to my studies, after 15 years of being a teacher’s assistant,” she said.
Mrs Webber has just started her own Bachelor of Education and aims to become a primary teacher.
Winter graduations were held at Albert Hall, Launceston on Saturday.