Gympie’s Isaac Jones felt right at home when he started studying Psychology at USC last week – his mother and father were beside him attending the same lectures.
The 19-year-old and his dad Rowland Jones have begun a Social Science (Psychology) degree together, while mum Robyn is studying a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours).
“Going to university with both your mother and father is certainly not the typical thing to do, but I think it is going to work really well,” said Isaac, an IT technician.
“We do like to joke and play mind games on each other,” said Rowland, an ordained pastor, counsellor and business adviser. “By studying Psychology together, we can make sure no-one gets the upper hand.”
Their decision to study together does have a more serious basis. Rowland and Robyn want to add psychology services to their private Christian counselling and business coaching practice, while Isaac plans to join the family business when he graduates.
“For more than 20 years, we have provided counselling as part of our pastoral work, and believe it is in our best interests to expand on current skills and knowledge,” he said.
A workplace accident in 2008 has given Rowland added incentive to gain formal psychology qualifications.
“Until three years ago I was in a wheelchair and had to learn to walk again after my spine was broken at the engineering firm where I was the CEO,” he said.
“It took me a long time to recover from the accident, and during my rehabilitation I ended up going through a few depressive episodes.
“I know there are many people like me out there, and I hope to help make a difference to others going through similar situations.”
Robyn, who is also an ordained pastor, said her interest in studying psychology dated back to primary school. “I have always loved helping people, and counselling has been a large part of my ministry life,” she said.
“This degree will empower me with more insight, strategies and techniques to aid the delivery of professional psychology processes into people’s lives for personal positive outcomes.”
Robyn said she was excited by the prospect of studying as a family at university. “I become Rowland’s primary carer while he rehabilitated, and home-schooled Isaac and our two younger children,” she said.
“We have always huddled together, so I guess this is just a natural progression.”
The Joneses will split their studies across USC’s Gympie and Sunshine Coast campuses.