A big mental workout for SFX couple

Young couple Trish Chipangura and Patrick O’Connell at Campion

YOUNG Catholic couple Patrick O’Connell and Trish Chipangura never expected to enrol in a liberal arts course together when they signed up for a free four-day introductory program last year.

Both were at uni in Canberra at the time, but the demo lectures, mock tutorials and small campus culture had them hooked.

“It’s a different kind of world,” Trish, 20, said.  “Like you are in your own little nook.  We had mock classes about Ancient Rome and studied an Edgar Allan Poe poem.

“Philosophy was the hardest.  It was downright confusing.  I was so lost.  It’s such a big mental workout”.

The pair, who met as students at St Francis Xavier College in Florey and graduated in 2018, put on hold their university courses in Canberra to enrol at Campion College this year.  An early enrolment $1500 fee reduction helped.

The Catholic liberal arts school is in Old Toongabbie, about 37kms west of Sydney.

Patrick had been studying archaeology and classical studies at ANU and Trish was doing a double degree in nursing and paramedicine at ACU.

“I did well at school and thought I may as well go to uni but ANU was so big and I was directionless,” Patrick said.

“The Campion course focuses on philosophy, theology, literature and history.  I liked the intimacy and the teachers know you personally.”

While a positive experience for Patrick and Trish, the college lockdown and remote learning have been difficult.  Both have now chosen different paths.

Patrick will finish at the end of the year with a diploma and plans to study secondary teaching.  Trish has already returned to ACU.

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“I wasn’t enjoying remote learning,” Trish said.  “But I gained so much knowledge in just one semester such as how to analyse texts and essay writing.”

“A liberal arts education teaches you how to think and gives you broad knowledge and skills,” Patrick said.

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