I’m from Pentland, a small town on the way from Townsville to Mount Isa. I decided I wanted to become an OT (occupational therapist) when I was in Year 10. I had known that I wanted to be in the health industry since I was 12. When I was 12 years old, my first nephew was born and he was diagnosed with several health problems. I decided I wanted to be able to help him and others live a little easier, so they can have the same opportunities.
A few years later, when I was in Year 10, I was doing my first day of after-school care for Year 2 students. The teacher asked me to stay inside and read a book to a young girl who had cochlear implants, speech difficulties and used a wheel chair. While the other students went outside to play, we were in a nice area where we could lay down and read a book. As I was reading the book to her, the smile that was on her face was nothing that words could describe. In that exact moment I knew 100 per cent I wanted to be the person who gives hope, laughter and a smile when all things look lost. I want to let people know that even though you can’t do everything that someone else can do that does not mean you have to miss out. I want to be the person to motivate people to not just exist, but to live to their fullest. I am also very compassionate and talk a lot, so there was no better option than OT.
I gained a scholarship in Year 12 for JCU. The University is very culturally diverse. I have an Indigenous background and I gained a lot of support and encouragement to keep pushing through my course when other things pulled me down.
I like that there are so many different areas you could work as an OT. You could work in mental health, paediatrics, aged care, hospitals community base work, and so much more. It is so diverse that every day is different. What I enjoy the most in the course is the people you meet — this may be your classmates, co-workers from placements and the individuals you meet while on placement. There is never a dull moment.
Studying here has opened up so many opportunities for me to join associations that I never would have if I wasn’t at JCU. I have made friends and gained connections all over Australia. It has given me knowledge and inspiration on how to help my community and other rural and remote communities.
I’m most proud of the ‘small wins’ I’ve achieved while studying and doing my practicals — When you’re with a client and you know that they have been working so hard and then you see it, the small improvement. That small improvement is the precious and proudest moment because you can see it in their face, it just lights up.
If you have a kind heart, like helping people and talking, give OT a shot. Don’t take this course for granted — it is a rewarding career. You get to make a difference not just with the physical environment someone lives in but you make a positive change also with the family, support networks and how the individual feels about themselves and their life. You get to hear the success stories of how well they’re going. Knowing you helped in making that change is the best feeling.
I would like everyone to have access to healthcare services. What I want for people is for them to live their lives to the fullest, by engaging in activities that are meaningful to them. We have one of the best healthcare systems in the world, but we still cannot expand our healthcare system to communities that need it the most. I could walk down one street in a city and there could be over 10 healthcare services. If I walked through an entire rural and remote community, there is a very high chance that the town does not have even one healthcare service.
My family, my community, my mob and my grandparents, as well as my passion for rural and remote health, inspire me to work towards my goals. After I graduate, I want to go to rural and remote areas. My passion is to help communities like my own have the healthcare services they deserve because everyone has the right to good health care.