Della Hoskins: Bachelor of Social Work
So my name is Della Hoskins I'm a proud Gumbaynggirr woman from the mid-north coast and grew up in a little town named Maxwell.
My education journey started off uniquely in university as a matured age student who didn't finish year 10 in high school. I come from a family of 11 and my family responsibilities have always been priority to me.
Sometime after I left school i started studying at Tafe in a certificate IV in community services and progressed into a diploma. This then opened the opportunity for me to study social work at university.
I'm the first in my family to attend university it was about doing something for myself and creating a role model for my children. I had no idea that there was opportunities open and to have that opportunity was just life changing. I was excited, nervous, it was a big step for me.
Tafe versus university is a very big academic step but that whole transition was a lot easier once I got to Woolyungah. They made it feel like it was just a walk in the park so it was really comforting. It's a safe place to study, hang out, just be yourself and know that there's more or less family around.
Never give up, there's always opportunities out there. There's always programs. There's always help. There's always a helping hand, it's never too late to learn.
Chanse McLean: Bachelor of Science (Cell & Molecular Biology) & Bachelor of Laws
I'm Chance. I'm a Wiradjuri man. I'm from central western new south wales and I'm a first year studying a Bachelor of Science in cellular molecular biology and a bachelor of Laws.
I grew up in a place called Canowindra, it's in central western new south wales. I was always a pretty studious kid, my mum taught me to read before I could go to school and she really always pushed me to get an education because she didn't have the chance to finish high school. I didn't want to stay home and go to one of my local universities, I wanted to sort of explore the world a little bit more.
I got into accommodation which was something that I really wanted to do and that's because I got um an ICAS, an Indigenous Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarship provided through the Woolyungah Indigenous Centre that lets me live at Weerona. I had kind of heard about or learned about living off-country as an experience before but because I'd never actually done it, I didn't have any firsthand experience of what it felt like but then when I moved to university I got really homesick after the novelty of it all kind of started to wear off a little bit and it was really, really hard but I guess having other people around me who had that a similar sort of experience kind of softened the blow a little bit and that was where WIC was really good because even though there's so many other students that aren't from my country or aren't the same mob they've had the same experience. So, that's something that we can all relate to together and form one kind of different mob I suppose.
Although WIC does provide amazing services obviously you know you've got access to the internet access to printing and computers and quiet spaces and all that kind of stuff, it's not just about the services it's also the community that's fostered there sort of crown jewel of WIC is the people who work there because they're just so lovely and easy to talk to.
There's this metaphor that i really like, a ship is safe in the harbour but that's not actually what it was built to do it's built to be on the open sea. So, I think that people are a lot like that especially young people in that you don't know the skills that you have until you have to use them. Trust that you're a lot more prepared than you think you are, even if you don't think you're prepared at all because that instinct will kick in and that even if you aren't ready there's always a safety net.
Thomeissa Mason: Bachelor of Arts & Bachelor of Laws
My name's Thomeissa and I'm studying a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Indigenous studies and minoring in visual arts. I actually grew up locally in the Illawarra, I moved here when I was around eight and I've been here ever since.
I got an offer to UOW through early entry for my trials exam results. Originally I actually was in law and psychology and i wasn't really vibing with the psychology so I switched to art and it's definitely something I prefer a lot more.
Well, you always get told that high school is different to university and that the workload is going to be more and you're going to have to put in more effort and a different kind of effort. I knew that but I didn't really know to what extent. The workload at uni is definitely more than high school but in a different way. You have to do a lot of independent learning, there's no one checking up on you or making sure you do the homework it is really self-driven. So if you want to stay up to date and make sure that you're prepared for class then you have to do it at home and I didn't do as much at home as I should have.
I fell behind a bit in first semester, I was struggling a lot, failing one of my assessments, it was pretty rough and that's when I reached out to Woolyungah Indigenous Centre. I wish that I'd reached out earlier because it's honestly been amazing. I've had so many opportunities through WIC as well that I'm so grateful for and experiences I never would have had.
Tutoring at WIC and having that support was a massive contributor to me passing my contract subject, I don't think I would have been able to do it without it. I had to get a killer exam score and I did because I worked really hard with my tutor.
Through further involvement I found that WIC can offer so much more than just academic support. I also found a sense of community at WIC, I've built a lot of great relationships with both the students and the staff, it's a really great way to get involved with community. I would 100% encourage you to reach out, just walk in and start talking to someone at the front desk if you need academic support they have it there they also have so many services if you need resources they have computers printers everything that you'd need and if you're not looking for services then they have amazing community aspects you can make so many relationships there and really get involved.
Zach Stewart: Bachelor of Public Health
I'm Zach I'm a proud Kamilaroi man I'm currently studying at the University of Wollongong doing a Bachelor of Public Health.
I went to a sports high school, I played rugby league for the first half of high school then I transitioned when I was 16 into rugby union. Studies were just sort of on the side, I never really focused on them and they never really hit me until I probably hit year 11. Someone mentioned to me you need a backup plan, you're going to get injured at some point and you're going to have nothing to fall back on.
I had been in contact with a program called school to work run by the NRL and the guy there he I guess introduced me to the Woolyungah Indigenous Center and the program that they run there the Indigenous Admissions Program was able to secure a position - so teaching at the time seemed like the right avenue to go down. But I'll tell you, the for me anyway it was very tough. I did my prac in my second year, the observational prac, and it wasn't for me and I just thought to myself it's not worth it like I'm just wasting my time and my money here like i don't know what else I'm supposed to do, and at that point I was ready to just you know drop everything and just work and get a trade until someone from the Woolyungah Indigenous Centre basically grabbed me by the ear and said nah you're not doing that, pulled me back in and said all right, let's re-evaluate your circumstances and let's figure out what you want to do.
They allowed me to try out different subjects from social policy to social work to human and societies all around working with people and communities and yeah public health just seemed to be the degree that suited me. Since then I've loved the degree, I'm averaging a distinction average, I've got my first few HD's last year which was great, I've also managed to secure work in the field that I love.
I think you know having that support network and having those people push me and knowing within myself that I can push myself I've been able to achieve so many things in the past what year and a half that I've been doing this degree. These people are here to help out the students in whatever way they can to get you through university. They help create that culturally safe space for Aboriginal people. You know it doesn't matter who you are, where you're from, what mob you represent, they will help support you every single step of the way. I never thought I'd be able to get into university, I never thought I'd get up to the point where I am now - and it is achievable.