“I didn’t actually know I was getting the award until I was called up so that was a bit of a surprise,” Emily says. “I got a bit emotional, but I got through it.”
The award is no accident, and Emily earned it while both studying externally and continuing to work throughout her degree.
“I chose external so I could continue to work full-time, and it just really worked out well with JCU and having the campus here as well,” she says.
“Being external obviously you have to be very self-motivated and stay on top of your studies because you’ve got no one there to force you into it.
“It was definitely challenging, at first, to keep on top of work and full-time study.”
Finding community through on-campus support
Emily’s study life became easier when she started to visit JCU Mt Isa, which gave her additional support and social opportunities.
“At first I didn’t know much about how to get involved with the campus because I thought being external they wouldn’t want anything to do with me,” Emily says.
“After the first few weeks I made some contacts here at the uni and met some fellow students who are also external. It was good to have a support group here as well and not feel so isolated.”
While Emily’s course was external, she still got to participate in plenty of the on-campus fun.
“The lecturers included me in some of the activities they did here, and just meeting with other students it was good to catch up with them,” she says.
“Getting together and talking through all the stressors we were dealing with just helped to know you weren’t alone and that there was someone else there going through the same thing you were.”
With university in her rear-view mirror, Emily has working life to look forward to, and come February she’ll be doing just that.
“I’ve got a graduate program here in Mt Isa and I’m on a rotation,” the new nurse says. “I’ll do four months in the Emergency Department, four months in Doomadgee, and then four months back here in Mt Isa on the surgical ward.
“I’m looking forward to ED and Doomadgee. I think ED is going to be a good way to start my career, sort of jump straight into the deep end.
“Doomadgee with it being a very remote, small Indigenous community, I’m really looking forward to that. I don’t really know what to expect but I’ve heard a lot of great things about it.”