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From soccer star to nursing degree: Jessica's story

This article appears in: Balance work, life and study, Nursing and Midwifery, Online study
Jessica Lacey with nursing colleagues at Howard Springs

A knee injury forced A-grade soccer star Jessica to reassess her future. A suggestion from her grandparents led to an online nursing degree at CDU, and now she’s kicking goals in a totally new career.

Like many Year 12 students, Jessica didn’t really know what she wanted to do once school was over. Her hometown of Adelaide River didn’t provide a lot of options, so her grandmother and grandfather encouraged her to enrol in nursing.

“It never crossed my mind to pick nursing, but as I progressed, it was all I knew,” she says.

Nursing came naturally to Jessica without her ever realising.

“When I got home, I was elevating Nana’s legs, making her a cup of tea, encouraging her to drink more water, using the computer to look up snake bite and wasp sting treatments, educating younger family members about keeping fit and making good decisions," she says.

"It was all connected to nursing.”

Getting it done

Jessica Lacey Bachelor of Nursing Graduation

Jessica knew having children at a young age and living far away from campus would make attending uni more difficult.

I chose Charles Darwin University as they were able to offer me flexibility.

She was able to study part-time and have a break from study when her family, work and life got in the way.

“I have a big familybirthdays, anniversaries, funerals, weddings, cousins and sisters having babies, hospital tripsand it was very hard for me to say no to them with my big heart and prioritise my studies."

"By the end of my second year of studying, my family was able to understand and help prioritise my career.”

With so many family commitments, Jessica appreciated the flexibility of a CDU degree.

I took six months off and was able to pick up some units in summer semester. It meant I could come back refreshed.

Advice for new students

Jessica overcame her struggles as a new uni student by asking for help and accepting support.

“I found referencing my hardest challenge, as it was different to how I was taught to reference at school,” she says.

“With the help of librarians and my tutors I was able to overcome my fear of referencing assignments. By second and third year it felt like second nature.”

Jessica recommends remembering that everyone else is new too, so there’s no shame in asking for clarification on something you don't quite understand.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Someone may not be as brave as you, so you’ll be helping someone else as well.

Kicking goals

Nursing graduate Jessica Lacey working at Howard Springs
Jessica, second from the left, with her colleagues at the Howard Springs quarantine facility

After graduating with her Bachelor of Nursing, Jessica took an opportunity to work with the Centre for National Resilience in Howard Springs, the Northern Territory’s mandatory supervised quarantine facility.

And thanks to some one-on-one help from CDU staff, Jessica has secured a graduate position at Royal Darwin Hospital following her quarantine stint.

“The sky isn’t the limit—it’s the beginning!”

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