For a person who says she doesn’t naturally enjoy “too much change all at once,” 18-year-old Taylah Wenban is adapting remarkably well to the tidal wave of life-changing adventures she is riding as a first-year paramedic student at UniSC.
Originally from Ballandean, a tiny village just south of Stanthorpe, Taylah is a “country kid” at heart who had dreams of studying medical science at university. Her dream became closer to reality when she discovered she’d received the Thompson Excellence Scholarship for UniSC, awarded to high achieving students commencing their first undergraduate degree.
“I was extremely excited to receive it,” Taylah says. “I filled out all the scholarship applications which was very nerve racking and got my mum to proofread it like seven times. I wasn't really expecting it at all.”
While her first preference was medical science, she says just missed the ATAR cut off to get into the program. “I got an ATAR of 98.8, and the cut off was 99.8, which was a little frustrating,” Taylah says. “But now I'm excited to do paramedicine first because it will mean I can work as a paramedic for the four years of studying medicine to become a doctor. Plus, I get real experience working with people in the medical field.”
While in primary school, Taylah says she “hated science.” That changed dramatically when she started learning about subjects like biology and physics in high school, even getting into an extension program. “I really started enjoying science…I was super interested in all the anatomy and physiology and how the human body worked, and that sparked my interest in medicine.”
A “foster kid”, Taylah says she’s been blessed to be living with the same family since she was two weeks old. “I call them my adopted family because I'm basically adopted,” she says.
“My biological dad was part of the Stolen Generation, but other than the fact that I am Indigenous, I really don't know much about my culture."
"A large part of what I want to do after uni comes from wanting to learn more about my culture at the same time as giving back to my community."
Alongside the study of the body, Taylah is keen to one day tackle the mind too. “I want to be a psychiatrist, as my family has a history of neurological conditions like ADHD, ASD and dyslexia,” she says. “I always tell people I've already done my ‘prac’ being in my family. I'm very interested in it.”
While she is excited to be going back up to Stanthorpe for her first paramedic placement next year, Taylah says she loves being on the Sunshine Coast. A bonus is that she can live with her grandparents who also live on the Sunny Coast and help care for them.
“One of the main reasons I chose to study at UniSC is because I had the feeling that everyone seems really approachable,” she says.
“It felt like you could ask questions and people wouldn't judge you for being a dumb first year, there was no condescension. I've made a lot of friends already. Everyone is willing to talk and get to know each other, and I love the open space on campus and all the trees and grass and animals…it reminds me of home.”
Taylah says she is incredibly grateful for the Thompson Excellence scholarship, as it “relieves a lot of the pressure and stress of trying to get by.”
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