For JCU Dentistry student Kaylarni Close, being the first in her family to go to university has taken drive, determination and a willingness to get the job done.
The proud Aboriginal woman is already inspiring the next generation of students and is the first to admit the hard work has been worth it.
“Growing up, Mum and Dad kind of drilled into me that I would have to be the first one to go to uni. It’s been something that I always wanted to do,” she says.
“It was a very big achievement for me. All my family tells me how proud they are of me every day for being able to do this.”
Since being accepted into Dentistry, Kaylarni has raised the expectations of her three younger siblings and is working to help other Indigenous students.
As the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Representative with the Dentistry Students Association (JCUDSA), she’s been able to inspire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander High School students to follow their dreams of university education.
“There aren’t any differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students when you are at uni. Your background doesn't really mean anything. As long as you put your head down and do the work, you can do as well as anyone else,” Kaylarni says.
Even with her strong determination, the Dental Surgery student admits that the course can be daunting at times, but she's developed strategies to help herself thrive.
“My biggest advice is just to do it in your own time - you don't need to rush into it straight away. If you need to wait for a year or two, or five, or ten. As long as you have that goal set, then you can do anything”.