Making the most of University Life: Natalie's Story - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Making the most of University Life: Natalie's Story

13 Jul 2021

My name is Natalie Lung and I am studying a Bachelor of Nursing Science at USC Caboolture. I started my degree full-time in 2019 but after a challenging 2020 I made the decision to continue my degree part-time with a view to graduating at the end of 2022. Outside of uni I’m looking forward to being able to travel again, I have a weakness for cheese and 80’s movies, and I am an utterly devoted dog mama to my 2 rescue fur-kids, Shadow and Molly.

What motivated you to study nursing?

My husband lives and works in Kokopo, Papua New Guinea and pre-pandemic, I would spend 3 months of the year over there with him. Seeing the community there struggle with access to good health care renewed a childhood passion for wanting to make a difference which is how, at 36 years of age, I decided to follow a childhood dream and start my nursing journey. It was terrifying but I am so glad I did it. I only wish I’d taken the leap when I first started looking into it, instead of waiting three years to apply because of self-doubt and nerves. I hope to use my degree to work for NGO’s in areas of need around the world.

Why did you choose USC Caboolture?

I chose USC Caboolture because the short commute was really appealing, the smaller campus was less daunting and once I saw the practice nursing labs, study spaces and heard from some of the lecturers I’d be learning from, I realised I wasn’t compromising on anything by choosing a smaller campus. Having spent some time at other USC campuses, I have learned to appreciate the close-knit community we have at Caboolture, how accessible the tutors and learning advisors are and how willing we are to support and celebrate each other.

What activities are you involved in at the university?
I got involved in Students as Partners through the uni which has provided me opportunities to volunteer at orientations, campus events, academic skills sessions and student support initiatives. I also have a passion for improving the student experience for my peers and for future students so I joined the Student Liaison Group to help ensure nursing students have their voices heard and hopefully contribute to the continued development of the nursing program. I also joined the Nursing Students Association (NSA) which is a student group run by and for nursing students. As part of the leadership team for the NSA we aim to create a supportive network of past and present students to guide and encourage students through their degree as well as providing educational and social opportunities for our members.

How have these activities benefited you?

I’ve been able to develop interpersonal and leadership skills whilst networking with and learning from peers and leaders in the nursing and academic community. I have also been lucky enough to secure various paid roles within the uni through the connections I’ve made, and opportunities provided to Students as Partners members. I’ve also created strong relationships with uni staff and academics I’ve had the opportunity to liaise with and it’s also provided me with confidence and pride knowing I am making a difference to the individual and collective student journey.

What advice would you give to prospective students who might be interested in studying at Caboolture?

Do it! I wasted so much time doubting myself and my abilities which delayed my application. Uni has been amazing – hard work but incredibly rewarding as well. There is so much support and opportunity available at USC and the Caboolture campus has all the benefits of being connected to such a big uni but with a really personal, community vibe.

Natalie Lung

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