Medallist finds success with late start to university | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Medallist finds success with late start to university

6 Oct 2022

It started with a niggling feeling he wanted to do more with his life and led to former Hervey Bay retail worker Tim Byford being awarded the University of the Sunshine Coast’s highest academic honour.

Tim was presented with a University Medal at a UniSC ceremony today in Hervey Bay which celebrated the achievements of the latest cohort of students to complete degrees at the University’s Fraser Coast campus.

“We’ve all taken various paths and had different experiences along the way but have ended up at this same point – graduating with degrees that give us opportunities to start new lives, careers and adventures,” said Tim, who reflected on his own journey in an address on behalf of graduating students.

“Seventeen years ago, as a young school leaver I headed off as my parents expected to university, but after one year, I decided studying wasn’t for me. So, while my friends and future wife continued their degrees, I worked in management at Woolies,” he said.

“Time went by, I married, we started a family, and I started a new and better job; although still in retail.

“Everything was falling into place, except for this niggling feeling that I was missing something in my career.

“One day it hit me. I wanted to pursue my passion for the environment and make a difference, a real difference to the people around me and my community.”

Embracing the university journey also opened the door to new opportunities, including a role as a UniSC student ambassador, delivering presentations at schools and events and talking with prospective students and their parents about study options at UniSC.

“This was something I never thought I could do before starting this role, but I realised that I could connect with students, so much so that it made me rethink my career goals,” he said.

“It was during one of these sessions talking to senior high school students that I had my lightbulb moment and realised that I wanted to combine my interest in science and the environment with a career in education.”

He plans to complete a Master of Education to become a secondary teacher with a focus on marine science and biology.

“I see it as a way to motivate the next generation of young adults. I want to inspire their interest in the environment and grow their commitment to finding ways to preserve our natural ecosystems and resources.”

University medallist Tim Byford presents the address on behalf of UniSC Fraser Coast graduates
Tim Byford discusses study options with high school student Lily -Ann Reedy in his role as a UniSC student ambassador

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