Dana Shields’ plans for a gap year took a battering with COVID-19 but the Coonamble Girls Academy graduate still believes anything is possible.
Up until my final months of Year 12, I never had any intentions of going to uni but I had always dreamt of a career that required a university degree, which was to become a nurse/midwife.
So at the last minute, I applied to five universities with no ATAR to back me up. The best I could do was cross my fingers and hope for the best. I ended up getting into all five, thanks to early entry. But I knew that I didn’t want to go to uni straight after school; I wanted to have a gap year. My plan was to travel and see as much of the world as I could before a very long commitment to putting my head in the books again.
Unfortunately, not one of my plans has eventuated. I lost my job due to coronavirus and was at my lowest financially for three to four months before going back to a job where I felt I belonged. If it wasn’t for them, I would still be struggling. Now after four months of saving, I have bought my first car and can pay my own expenses.
I am also completing my certificate III in assistant nursing and will be qualified by next August — it’s a step in my nursing career.
I have decided that for now, university will not be going ahead as I have come to learn that I am only young once! I would still love to travel as much as I can once coronavirus settles down and continue my career journey as a mature age student.
I owe a big thank you to Girls Academy for the support I received and continue to receive. If it wasn’t for them, I guarantee I wouldn’t be where I am today, as my focus wasn’t where it needed to be. If I could encourage any young girl to get involved in one thing while at school it would be to join Girls Academy. The staff are there to help you succeed and reach your goals. Don’t take that support for granted.
I would also tell young girls that anything is possible. If you want to apply to university but think you aren’t smart enough or don’t have the grades, please do it anyway. Take it from someone who doubted herself for years — I now have the five acceptance letters to prove me wrong.