Finding her purpose is the motivation that led UniSC student Belinda Christensen to university study, nearly 20 years after she finished high school.
Belinda went to TAFE after graduating high school in 2003, and then worked for 10 years in retail. During this period, knowing she found “fulfillment in helping people,” Belinda says she longed to deepen her knowledge and go to university, but hesitated due to personal circumstances and “perceptions of being a mature aged student.”
Instead, she went back to TAFE and completed a fitness qualification, while the desire to experience university “intensified over the next ten years as I ran my own business in Brisbane as a personal trainer and beauty therapist.”
Then, through a series of events including an accident which meant she could no longer commute,
Belinda says she “faced a key turning point” and made the decision to attend a UniSC open day. Just one month later, she found herself on campus as a student.
“As a mature aged student, I was incredibly nervous but quickly found a supportive environment and knew that this was where I was meant to be,” she says.
Not one to cautiously dip a toe into the water, Belinda jumped straight into the deep end taking on the ambitious goals of completing concurrent Bachelor degrees in Biomedical Science and Nutrition. Next, she plans to pursue honours, followed by a PhD to impact public health policy to “meet food security and reduce food waste.”
“I’m a sucker for science, always have been. Even in beauty therapy it was anatomy, physiology and skin science that interested me,” she says. “I enjoy combining the sciences to understand the ‘why.’
Belinda applied for the Graduate Women’s QLD Branch scholarship and was thrilled to receive it. “They’re all about supporting women,” she says. “In the past, I’d hesitated to apply for a scholarship, so I was pleasantly surprised to get it.
“Coming to UniSC I was driven to find my purpose. I never felt I was making enough of an impact, and I finally feel I can make that impact.
Belinda says she was surprised by how many other mature age students there were at UniSC, and says her advice to anyone in that boat who’s thinking about starting uni is to “give it a go.”
“The life experiences we’ve had since leaving school have given us all the preparation we need. My priorities are also different now, as are my motivations.”