Maddy Best - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Maddy Best

Degree: Bachelor of Social Work 

Target graduation date: The Bachelor of Social work is 4 years full time, but I am going to study slowly for a few semesters and work on my connections throughout university and the wider community.

My journey: I graduated high school in 2013 having no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had a lot of trouble with my mental health through high school and ended up with an OP 22. This meant I was not able to get into uni straight from high school. I applied for TAFE courses, not expecting much. I got accepted into a Diploma of Community Services at TAFE Southbank. I completed 6 months and then took a 6 month break for my mental health. At the beginning of 2015 I started a Diploma of Nursing with a friend at TAFE Caboolture and - turns out - really loved it! I worked as an AIN in aged care while completing my Diploma and graduated as an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse in the middle of 2016.

I then changed roles in my job to work as an enrolled Nurse. I started uni at another uni studying a Bachelor of Nursing in Semester 1, 2017 and failed 1 subject and just passed the other 3. I had to quit halfway through the next semester and I took (another) nearly 12 month break for my mental health where I also quit working. I luckily had an amazing counsellor through the uni who helped me get academic and financial exemptions so the classes wouldn’t impact on my GPA.

I started again at USC Caboolture in 2018, Semester 2, and have been studying my Bachelor of Nursing there ever since. I started volunteering with the events team and loved every minute of helping people. This led me to change my course to suit what I’m enjoying more - helping and educating people. Semester 2, 2019 I started the Caboolture Queer Coffee catch up and I am very passionate about creating safe spaces for marginalised people, particularly for queer people.

Career aspirations: Being the first person in my family to complete a TAFE diploma and to go to University, I still don’t really know what the future holds for me. I know that running the Queer Coffee Catch-up and volunteering has helped my mental health and it makes me so happy to know that I’m helping people. I would love to work for a company like QuAC or even start my own company for queer people.

Why did you become an Ambassador? I enjoy helping people to find solutions and showing them that university can be for everyone and it is easy to mould it to fit your circumstances and abilities. I love to help empower people to take control of their education and achieve their goals.

What do you like about USC? The sense of community across all campuses is amazing to be a part of. USC strives to have student voices at the forefront of everything. This collaboration between students, staff and academics makes me so proud to be a student here. I have always felt so welcome and I’ve made friends throughout all different faculties and a diverse range of backgrounds.