My name is Della Hoskins, my mob is Gumbayniggirr tribe from up Mid North Coast. I am in my third year of my Bachelor of social work degree. I have been in Wollongong for the last 7 years. The Father of my six (6) kids is from Wollongong, I love the south coast and the cold.
In 2020, I received the Jamie Ross Scholarship, receiving this scholarship took the financial burden of University off me. It is the smallest things that amount to so much, textbooks, a good headset, a good laptop to use in classes and assessments. Receiving this scholarship has helped me with all those necessary resources and taken the weight of those financial stresses off me.
My education journey has been unique as I entered university as a mature aged student who did not finish year 10 in High School. I come from a family of 11, and my family responsibilities have always been my priority and have been always been huge. In Aboriginal families, these family responsibilities can impact your education from a young age. Sometime after I left school, I started studying at TAFE, a certificate 4 in community services, and progressed into a diploma. This then opened the opportunity for me to study social work at university.
All of my kids love that I am a university student. They ask me “Mum are you going to school today?”. When I do schoolwork, they ask me “are you talking to your teacher?” they love it. Recently, I came home with the Emu feather necklace I made at WIC craft student event, my daughter Letitia was beyond impressed and asked “when I go to Uni, do I get to do this stuff, can I come in and make stuff?”. My kids love it and I love knowing I am being a good role model to them.
I am the first in my family to come to university. This in itself has a ripple effect as it is motivating my entire family, all my sisters, and my brothers. They see me achieving high and it motivates them. My nieces and nephews are so proud of me too. I want to embed education into our family so that they can reach for higher goals.
At the beginning of university, the biggest challenges were getting used to the dynamics of this white institution including the lectures and tutorials. Time management is my strength and making sure I make time to study is critical for me with my busy family life.
The best thing about university is the social and UOW community interactions, it is hard now because of remote learning. Having a safe space like WIC that we can come to has made this journey easier for me.
I won’t lie, university is hard but if you have the right supports in place and the right encouragement from family and friends, especially the student advisors here at WIC, it is empowering. There are so many times that I have come into WIC and told staff member Adam Ridgeway that I am ready to walk away from study. I have come into WIC saying ‘I'm done’ and “I can’t do it anymore” and every single time he motivates me. I dust myself off and find the motivation of graduation and being a role model to my family and I keep going. I now know and fully believe if you have the right support around you, you will succeed and get through.