For three decades, CQUniversity’s student counsellor Michele Palu has helped provide guidance and support to thousands of students across Australia and is now set for retirement.
Ms Palu’s role as counsellor has evolved over time but helping students has always been at the core of her work at the university.
Michele explained that she had worked with thousands of students to help promote mental health, improve resilience, develop strategies for dealing with stress and anxiety, and guide new students in developing a balance between life and study.
“I first started working with the university more than 30 years ago in a casual position before taking on a permanent role 25 years ago,” she said.
“The role has been challenging but also very satisfying as I get to come to work and help people every day.
“I have helped students in all types of circumstances, whether it be one off appointments, to help them cope with the demands of study, or more regular appointments to help them deal with different issues.
“The most rewarding part of my job has been witnessing students who have been really struggling and who were at risk of abandoning their studies, then go on and complete their degrees and find their dream job.”
Michele also said that the focus of her role had expanded in recent years as mental health became more of a priority for individuals.
“In recent years, I have found that people are more willing to reach out and seek support because the stigma is being removed when it comes to mental health,” she said.
“The past two years have also been busier than usual due to the impact the pandemic has had on people’s lives.”
CQU farewells Michelle and welcomes Sarah to student counsellor role
CQUniversity’s Associate Vice-President, Wide Bay Burnett Region, Luke Sinclair congratulated Michele on her retirement and thanked her for her contribution to student support over the years.
“Michele has made an enormous contribution to student health and wellbeing, not just here in Bundaberg but for students right around the country,” he said.
“She has always provided a safe and welcoming space for students to discuss their personal circumstances and help them come up with strategies for managing them so that they can successfully continue with their studies.
“I am certain Michele’s presence will be missed on campus, but I am confident our wellbeing team will continue to deliver students with high-quality support services.”
Michele will remain in Bundaberg following her retirement with plans to spend more time with family, visiting her children who live interstate and overseas and embarking on some travel with her partner John.
“It is certainly going to be a change of pace and I think it will take some time to settle into this next phase of my life, but I look forward to trying out some new hobbies.”
Michele’s replacement is another Bundaberg local, Sarah Birch who joins the University from Queensland Health.
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