19 June 2017
For recent USC graduate Nathan L’Estrange, the journey to getting a degree was not always smooth sailing.
After finishing high school, Nathan, now 28, enrolled in a business program at a Brisbane university but struggled to find the right balance between study and life.
He tried changing degrees, but soon felt that maybe university wasn’t for him.
“After a couple of failed attempts, I kind of got it into my head that I wasn’t cut out for tertiary education,” he said.
“I decided to travel instead, and ended up working on cruise ships for a couple of years.”
He was on shore leave in the United States when a chance invite to a friend’s graduation ceremony encouraged him to reconsider study.
“I went to this college graduation ceremony and it was such a beautiful thing, seeing everyone’s achievements,” he said.
“It inspired me to think about my own future, and whether I was ready to come home and try again.
“At the time I was working as a personal trainer on the ships, and I’d discovered that I really loved health and the human body, so I decided to study that.”
Nathan returned to Queensland and enrolled at USC. In April, he graduated with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science.
Alongside his studies, Nathan served as a Student Ambassador and was involved in USC Activate, a volunteer-led group that connects USC students through outdoor recreation activities.
He said his second attempt at university was more successful in large part due to the financial support he received through a USC Study Support Bursary.
Funded through donations from the USC community, these bursaries allow students to reduce hours of paid work in order to focus on their studies.
“To be honest, I think the Study Support Bursary is why I managed to do so well, because I didn’t have the same financial pressures I had in the past,” Nathan said.
“Having the financial support to focus on study was incredibly helpful, and it also allowed me to be a lot more engaged – not only in my studies, but in student groups like Activate and the whole university experience.”
Now that he has graduated, Nathan said he hoped to share his passion for health and wellbeing through community education and recreation programs – a goal inspired by his experiences at USC.
“Graduation is a great achievement, but university is about so much more than just getting a degree,” he said.
“It’s a fantastic experience, and while it can be hard work, it’s something you should be able to get involved with and enjoy all the way through. The Study Support Bursary really allowed me to do that.
“The three and a half years I spent at USC was just as enjoyable, if not more, than the time I spent travelling overseas.”