But making that sacrifice over the past four years has paid off for this award-winning Southern Cross University (SCU) student who will graduate in Sydney tomorrow (March 14).
Jacqueline, 28, from Ultimo, has been named as winner of the prestigious Barry Poole Memorial Prize, awarded to the graduation student with the best academic performance in the Bachelor of Business in Tourism Management course.
Jacqueline is one of 166 students who will graduate tomorrow with awards ranging from law to music. The graduation will also include 49 students who completed the Bachelor of Business in Hotel Management through the Hotel School in Sydney, which has a partnership with SCU.
"I am amazed and thrilled," Jacqueline said on learning of her award. "I'm still in shock.
"I have worked really hard on this degree and hoped to do well, but this is a real surprise."
Jacqueline said she chose to study at SCU after spending three years travelling and working in America, Canada, the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
"I returned home and knew that I wanted to study in the area of tourism and event management, so I researched all the courses that were available and the SCU course seemed to be the perfect one," she said.
"I started studying externally part-time in 2002 while working full-time. But two years ago I realised I was enjoying it so much that I decided to concentrate on getting the degree finished and putting in a bigger effort, so I swapped to studying full-time and only working part-time."
The investment has paid off handsomely for Jacqueline, who has just accepted a job as executive assistant to the chief operating officer of Australian film production company, Bazmark Inq, in Darlinghurst.
She is looking forward to her new role in event management, public relations, marketing and business management.
"My SCU degree has really helped prepare me for the role as it was strongly business-focused and very practical," Jacqueline said.
The graduation ceremony is being held at the Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt Street, Sydney, starting at 5.30 pm. Mr Robert J Sendt, Auditor-General of New South Wales, will deliver the Occasional Address.
Students will be graduating from courses including: law, arts, contemporary music, education, information technology and multimedia, human services, nursing and natural therapies.
Graduation ceremonies will be held at the Coffs Harbour campus on April 8 and at the Lismore campus on April 21 and 29.
Media contact: Zoe Satherley Media Officer, 66203144 or 0439 132 095.