Twenty-six years ago, university student Lizzie England sacrificed her studies for the little person growing inside her belly.
This year she’ll be graduating alongside him.
Come April, the Queensland mother of seven will be handed a degree in Occupational Therapy, while her son, Sam Joyce, will receive a Bachelor of Business.
The pair have been travelling back and forth together to USC Sunshine Coast’s Sippy Downs campus for the past for years.
“It was awesome to share the commute with Mum and catch up with her for lunch at the USC Brasserie,” said Sam. “Mum dropped out of uni the first time, so I’m unbelievably proud of her for going back. It feels really special for us to be finishing at the same time.”
Lizzie, 46, whose career has included upholstery, real estate, nursing and aged and disability care, said it was wonderful to her her son call out, “Hey Mum!”, across the USC campus.
"We’d have coffees and he wasn’t embarrassed by his Mum," she said. "Although, when we realised we were enrolled in the same Psychology tutorial, he promptly changed to another."
For both, their degrees are a means toward their long-held goals: Sam, a former personal trainer, hopes to work in the startup industry, while Lizzie is finally pursuing her life-long dream of being an occupational therapist.
"OT is an amazing allied health profession that promotes health and well-being, and I believe I’m now doing what I was created to do," she said.
"I’m passionate about palliative care and I want to work in the industry to help people stay as active as possible. I also want to do research."