Overcoming barriers to university: a rural perspective – by Georgia Woodhouse, rural health student

My Health Career is pleased to present a guest article from Georgia Woodhouse, a third year pharmacy student at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. She is a member of the WARRIAHS (Wagga Area Regional Remote and Indigenous Allied Health) club. Through her involvement in the club, Georgia has been exposed to some of the benefits that a career in rural health has to offer and wants to share with you some things that she have learnt and is still learning along the way. The concept of the 5 M’s is the intellectual property of the Northern Territory Medicare Local and My Health Career would like to acknowledge Diana Carli-Seebohm’s development of this.

“No doubt there are lots of things going through your head when deciding whether or not you want to go to university? Not knowing what to study? Or where to go? It is completely normal to feel like this, as I myself have gone through what seems like the most important decision of you life. But you can rest assure that it is not, even though it may seem like that at the moment. Often rural and regionals students are faced with common barriers when considering university, which can be known collectively as the 5 M’s. These include; Marks, Money, Motivation, Moving and Mates.

Marks: It’s important to realize that achieving a high mark is not the be all end all. Although it may be helpful to gaining entry into university, today there are so many different pathways you can take to get into university. Including TAFE branching courses, Supplementary Entry Programs, Interviews, and Principle Recommendation programs. It may be useful to discuss these options with career advisors or to get in contact with the universities directly.  Research the opportunities out there, as knowing that there are other options will take some pressure off you.

Money: Many students have doubt in the back of their mind about money and whether they will be able to afford university. Nonetheless there is financial support out there and different financial options for those concerned about having limited funds. HECS will become your friend. This works as if you are taking a low interest loan from the government. But you do not have to start to pay it back until you have finished university and have made a certain amount of money. Scholarships are great things and provide financial assistance to many students. A large number of scholarships exist for rural health due to the demand and need for health professionals. I can speak first hand that it is well worth the effort to research all the different scholarships available and apply for as many as you can.

Motivation: You need to ask yourself what you really want to do? Not what other people think you should do or tell you that you can or can’t do.
Do something that you will enjoy or find interesting, as it will make studying so much more bearable.

Moving: It can seem ever so daunting moving to a new place, where you don’t know anyone, or any thing about the area. Leaving home is a big thing, so it is understandable to be nervous and scared. Living on campus at university, I found it made the transition a lot easier. As the majority of people you are living with are in the same situation as you. It is a great way to meet new people from all facets of life, with many becoming life long friends.

Mates: The best part on university is the friends that you will make. University is renowned for the social side of things. I have been told many times that it is the best time of your life. So enjoy it while you can. Get involved in as many events as possible, as you only get out what you put in.

So no matter what barriers you feel may be restricting you from going to university, there are always ways to overcome these. Many support groups exist and are out there to help you.  As they want you as there future rural health professionals. I love university and would highly recommend to any one considering it to make the plunge as you won’t regret it!”

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