Kristy aims high as she reaches for career dream - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Kristy aims high as she reaches for career dream

5 Nov 2020

While Kristy Benson once thought attending university was out of reach, she now says studying Midwifery at USC helped her realise the importance of chasing a dream and the power of self-belief.

The Fraser Coast resident, who left school in Year 10, was recently recognised with a Graduate Women Queensland Sunshine Coast Branch 2020 bursary for achieving exceptional results in her USC studies.

Valued at $1,500, the bursary aims to help the advancement of women through education and is presented to undergraduate female students completing their second, third or fourth year of study.

“I had spent my whole life believing that I was simply ‘not academic’ – yet that was not at all true,” said Kristy. “Until enrolling at USC, I had just not had an opportunity, a burning passion, and a supportive university in which I could bloom.”

Kristy gained straight high distinctions in her first semester of Nursing Science at USC Fraser Coast last year, allowing her to transfer in second semester to the Midwifery degree, which is offered through the University’s Sunshine Coast campus.

She is currently maintaining a perfect grade point average of 7 as she follows her dream path towards a career as a midwife.

“Having not finished high school, I had no idea how I would possibly manage university. But by my late 20s, I knew that it had to be done to reach my goal,” Kristy said.

“Becoming a midwife is something that I believe was written in the stars for me. However, life took me on an interesting path that included a career in hospitality management and even a stint as a funeral director.

“That first semester of university was spent absolutely immersed in learning, and my dedication only increased as I started to study what I was so passionate about.

“Each subject and each opportunity to go on clinical placement has been savoured and enjoyed.”

A flexible study program allows Kristy to attend lectures and tutorials across USC’s campuses at the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay.

“I commute a six-hour round trip twice a week to the Sunshine Coast, but every second is worth it,” she said.

“Moving away from the Fraser Coast is not an option for me, as this is where my family support is and where I am raising my two sons.”

Kristy said embracing the university journey had also led to many fantastic peer support roles, including current president of the Midwifery Society of USC, president of Active Minds Fraser Coast, chairperson of the Fraser Coast Student Liaison Group, member of the Student Senate and Indigenous Academic Mentor.

Kristy was one of three USC students to receive the Graduate Women Queensland bursary this year.

“I am deeply grateful for the scholarship as this helps me to continue along my academic journey and inspires me to continue striving for excellence in all that I do,” she said.

“I am on target to finish my degree by the end of 2021 to become a registered midwife, and have aspirations to complete a PhD, with a research focus on advocating for women-centred, evidence-based birth options.”

USC Midwifery student Kristy Benson

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