Jessica Bettega - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Jessica Bettega

High school attended: Maroochydore State High School

Degree: Bachelor of Environmental Science

Target graduation date: 2020

My journey: In my later years of high school, I was feeling quite lost and overwhelmed by the choice that I needed to make about my future. I didn't have a clear picture of what my future looked like, as I wanted to become a lawyer, a biologist, an author, a ballerina and a vet (all at the same time, of course), so I decided to try out USC's Headstart program in an attempt to narrow down those options. It gave me a chance to try out Creative Writing, as this was one of the pathways I was considering, but after a semester, I decided this was definitely not for me. I graduated year 12, still lost and without even bothering to apply for university through QTAC.

Instead, I took a gap year and spent this time working and dancing intensively, hoping to pursue a career in dance. After auditioning for a full-time dance program and not getting in, I was back to the drawing board. I thought I would spend another year working and trying to figure it out, when I found an advert on Facebook for a Bachelor of Animal Ecology at USC. After reading about the program and the course outlines, I realised that this was everything I'd wanted to pursue without knowing it, as the degree didn't exist when I graduated high school. Since then, I've now graduated with my Bachelor of Animal Ecology and commenced a degree in Environmental Science which I absolutely love.

Career aspirations: I am hoping to pursue either a career as a researcher and academic or in wildlife rehabilitation and care after I graduate.

Why did you become an Ambassador? I have experienced first-hand the pressure that comes with finishing high school and choosing a career pathway. I was a kid who didn't really have a clear direction and three years ago, I never would have foreseen that I would be studying Animal Ecology at USC. I became an Ambassador so I could share my experiences with other people and hopefully hope them discover something that they are passionate about, a degree they never thought about studying before, or even just to help alleviate some of the stress and worry that people feel about picking their pathway.

What do you like about USC? Not only has USC provided me with incredible learning opportunities in the unique and cutting-edge degree that is Animal Ecology: I have already had amazing experiences, including going whale watching, seeing the turtles hatch at Mon Repos Turtle Rookery; being involved in current research with Honours and Masters students, as well as lecturers; going overseas and learning a new language; and having the opportunity later in my degree to undertake overseas work placement or research projects. The opportunities that USC provides are amazing. It is also such a beautiful place to study, with kangaroos on campus and plenty of lush, open spaces to relax in, and everyone always has a smile!