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Sisters take different paths to the same degree

There are many options when it comes to choosing the right time to start a degree – just ask sisters Kaitlyn and Sophie Ryan.

They have taken different paths to end up studying Nursing Science together at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Sophie, 17, was so certain she wanted to start university straight after finishing Year 12 last year, the Maryborough State High School student applied for a UniSC Early Offer Guarantee.

“I’ve always dreamed of doing emergency or paediatric nursing, so Nursing Science was an obvious choice,” said Sophie. “Finding out I had a guaranteed offer from UniSC well before completing my final exams just made planning my future so much easier.”

For older sister Kaitlyn, 20, choosing a career direction after completing Year 12 in 2019 was not as straightforward.

“Unlike Sophie, who was always driven and focused on doing her best in school and going to university, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do so I decided to take some time to figure it out,” Kaitlyn said.

Gaining a job as a pharmacy assistant helped to gain a new perspective.

“I really found my passion, and after a few years working in a pharmacy I knew I wanted to work in the health sector,” she said.

“I just love that in pharmacy we can help people and make them better. Every day is different, and you get to meet so many people – I see nursing as being similar.”

Kaitlyn completed a Certificate III in Pharmacy which helped her gain accreditation to be accepted into UniSC’s Bachelor of Nursing Science.

“It is something that I’ve reached for and it is exciting that I’ve finally got here,” she said.

The sisters join about 4,800 new students who will begin study programs at UniSC's five campuses from Moreton Bay to Fraser Coast this semester.

UniSC Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global and Engagement) Alex Elibank Murray said it was a milestone moment for each individual student as they worked to set themselves up for career and life success.

"It's also an important and exciting time for local communities," Ms  Elibank Murray said.

“Each new cohort that starts at one of our five campuses will go on to make a significant contribution to the region and its future,” she said.

“The students are gaining skills and knowledge that help meet the needs of the community, particularly in sectors such as education and health that face critical workforce shortages.

“We know that about seven out of ten students who study at a regional university stay and work in the regions after completing their studies, becoming valuable contributors to their communities.”

Meanwhile Kaitlyn and Sophie, who play together for Sunbury Football Club in the Football Queensland Premier League, plan to keep the teamwork going when it comes to tackling their studies at UniSC Fraser Coast once classes begin on Monday 27 February.

“I am that little bit older and have the benefit of real-life experience working in the health industry, while Sophie is fresh from school with up-to-date academic researching and referencing skills,” Kaitlyn said.

“We get on really well, and I think it is going to be an incredible experience to do this together,” Sophie said.

There is still time to apply to study at UniSC in Semester 1

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