Creating Change: Meet mads Best. Student, Advocate, Graduate! - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Creating Change: Meet mads Best. Student, Advocate, Graduate!

12 Oct 2021

Hello, my name is mads Best and I am a trans, non-binary person. I have just completed my Bachelor of Nursing at USC Caboolture. Prior to this, I gained a Diploma of Nursing at TAFE Caboolture and went to high school down the road at Caboolture SHS. I am now studying a Bachelor of Social Work at USC. I’m very passionate about community involvement, especially around the LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent communities and I would like to combine my passion for nursing and social work to provide education and support for people like me.

How I got started. I didn’t do well in high school and didn’t think I would be able to do higher study. I am the first in my family to do further study. I got into a Diploma of Community Services and started that at Southbank TAFE. In 2015, my friend asked me if I wanted to study Nursing at TAFE Caboolture together. We started and I loved it immediately. When I finished my Diploma at TAFE, I then started at university studying to become a Registered Nurse (RN) in 2017. I chose to study at the Caboolture Shared Campus because the convenience of a university being so close to home was impossible to pass up!

Sense of accomplishment. As someone who struggles with academic work, it is an awesome feeling to have graduated from both TAFE and university with qualifications in nursing. These achievements will allow me to reach my goals of helping people and building stronger communities and supports. My family are very proud of me for studying Nursing and progressing through from TAFE to uni! Being the first in family to complete both a TAFE and a university degree was a really big deal for me and others in my family. My sister has since started a Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP) at USC and loves the community too.

The things that kept me on track. USC Caboolture has always been a wonderful campus to study at. The staff here are so fantastic, they have been so supportive of me being trans and queer. Being able to study at a campus that is so open and supportive of students has helped me to finish my degree and to be so involved in the community here. The friends that I’ve made through this degree also helped keep me on track, having that support around is so important.

Working, volunteering and studying. When I was studying, I was able to work as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) and then as an Enrolled Nurse (EN) in a local aged-care facility. I also volunteered at USC in their Events Team, gaining points to also graduate from university with a Student Leadership Award. I have volunteered my time with many wonderful and enriching events at the campus. I enjoy the interactions with students, helping them and this involvement is important to me. I try to get involved in everything I can and suggest the same for other students! Get involved with the uni culture - join your Student Liaison Group, volunteer, apply for student jobs! There is a whole world out there and USC has so much help available - you just need to ask!

Creating a sense of community and raising awareness. I have done a lot of work around LGBTQIA+ support. I facilitated a Queer safe space as a Peer Leader. IDAHOBIT is an event that I have helped organise and run since 2019. I believe that I have helped to create a sense of community here and also provided a lot of information and education around the LGBTQIA+ community.

Some things I've learnt. The Caboolture Shared Campus and USC have given me the safe space and opportunities to really discover who I am and where I want my life to go - this is both within studying Nursing (and now Social Work) and my own personal identity. It helped me to realise that Social Work was where I really wanted to be.

 

Maddy Best

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