A 35-year-old single mother-of-two from the Philippines took out the 2019 Student of the Year Award at the Sunshine Coast graduation ceremony in December 2019, receiving recognition for her outstanding achievements and incredible dedication to her goals.
Anne Crisologo said she was surprised by the award but was honoured to accept it.
“I am so proud that I’ve finished my course, but receiving the award was the highlight of my graduation,” Anne said.
“I never thought it would be my name they read out – it was overwhelming to be acknowledged in front of so many people.”
Anne began her studies at TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus in 2018, completing a Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology (ICT30118) before deciding to enhance her knowledge and skills further with a Diploma of Information Technology and Networking (ICT50418).
Anne first discovered her passion for information technology after landing a job as an IT Helpdesk Engineer at an auditing firm in Manila. As a business management graduate Anne had no previous experience in the industry, but with some basic training and the help of her colleagues, she went on to work at the firm for 11 years.
“I learnt enough to get me by, but it wasn’t enough to be able to start a real career in IT,” Anne said.
“I wanted to keep pushing myself and develop my skills so I can gain work at a higher level.”
Anne resigned from her job with the intention of gaining more knowledge through experience, but was unable to find employment with her existing skills. Revising her initial plan, Anne decided to take the plunge and return to study.
“Studying in Australia was not really in my plan,” said Anne.
“My cousin invited me for holidays down under and while I was here, they told me about how they were studying online through TAFE Queensland.
“I looked into it my options and I liked how TAFE Queensland is more practical and how the programs are more job ready.”
For the last two years, Anne has worked incredibly hard to strengthen her career prospects, with her aim to provide a better life for her family back home. And although it’s been difficult, her dedication has never wavered, with Anne even travelling via train and bus from Gympie to TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus and back three days a week to attend her classes.
“My ultimate goal is to give my kids the best life possible,” Anne said.
Having experienced the struggles of adjusting to a new country herself, Anne also went out of her way to welcome TAFE Queensland’s newest international students as a student mentor, overcoming her shyness to help others feel like they belong. It’s a role she’s been highly passionate about, and is yet another example of the commitment that earned her recognition as the 2019 Sunshine Coast Student of the Year.
“I’m a shy person, but I’m so glad I pushed myself to overcome that,” Anne said.
“Aside from my teachers and classmates, I’ve become friends with people from other classes and countries that I otherwise never would have had the chance to meet.”