Proud mum graduates with son at April graduations

For Sarah Abla, the prospect of studying at 43 seemed daunting. But her dream of becoming a police officer was greater than her worries of being "too old for university".

Sarah admits managing a household, running a family business and studying for a degree is a lot to juggle, but fast forward three years and she is now graduating with a Bachelor of Policing Studies.

To make things more surreal, Sarah's son is graduating alongside her with a Bachelor of Construction Management.

"I've always supported my three sons in everything they do, so to also be graduating at the same time as Charbel makes me feel proud that I have achieved something many thought was not possible," Sarah says.

"I wanted to be an example to other women to show that if I can do it, they can too. I also want to make a difference in the community and I knew that to do that, I had to commit to a degree."

Graduate Sarah Abla 

Finding time to look after her family and business often meant Sarah spent late nights studying to pass exams. She has worked for her family business for over 20 years and is still heavily involved with running it, even during her degree.

"Not many people can say they get to graduate with their mother so I feel very lucky to have her with me in such a memorable moment of my life," her eldest son says.

"It has not been easy to say the least.  My family are happier if I'm at home looking after them. Even though we have been in Australia for many years, it is still very difficult in my culture for women who want to achieve something for themselves," she says.

Sarah says The College at Western Sydney University, which provides pathways into further study for students, played a large role in her journey, helping ease her transition back to formal education.

"When I heard about the College, I knew it was something I had to do in order to make my goal of going to university a reality."

Sarah says that being a mature age student came with its own challenges, and it was the support of her friends that kept her going, helping her to become a future police officer and work within a community to make a difference.  

Looking to the future, Sarah hopes to attend Goulburn Police Academy, allowing her to be one step closer to her dream career.

"It's been tough but I have managed to graduate and I want to show others that no matter what obstacles they face, they can get a degree too."


13 April 2017

Jessica Cortis, Media Unit