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Studying on the sidelines: Meet AFLW star Dominique

This article appears in: Balance work, life and study, Health, Online study
Occupational therapy student Dom studying on a beanbag

Dominique maintains her deep connection to the Territory while kicking goals as an up-and-coming AFL star in Melbourne. Thanks to CDU’s Elite Athlete Support Program and flexible, online learning, she can chip away at her other dream of becoming an occupational therapist in her spare time.

Like many Territorians, footy has always been a part of Dominique’s life.

“I’ve been passionate about my sport since I was young, starting at about the age of 5 or 6,” she says.

Playing AFL professionally is something many young Aussies can only dream of, but it’s become a reality for Dominique.

She was scouted by Hawthorn Football Club in her second year at university and left her home in the Northern Territory to embrace the opportunity.

Two worlds collide

Prior to her big Melbourne move, Dominique had been busy pursuing her longer-term career goal of becoming an occupational therapist.

She was among the first students to study the Bachelor of Health Science/Master of Occupational Therapy at CDU.

“It was really exciting to be one of the first groups to come through the program to really see how it’s been developing.”

Moving interstate—while an incredible opportunity for her footy dream—threatened to interrupt her other career dream.

“Once I moved down to Melbourne to play AFLW I was in a bit of a pickle with regards to my study,” she says.

CDU were really accommodating and actually offered the course online so I was able to continue studying, which was amazing.

Getting the balance of study, work and social life right is tricky for most students, and Dominique notes it wasn’t always easy juggling elite sport alongside everything else.

She took advantage of the help offered by CDU’s Elite Athlete Support Program. The program supports elite level athletes as they navigate the challenges of studying and competing by offering personalised flexibility with assessments, exams, timetables and workloads.

Territory dreaming

Occupational therapy student Dom at work

Now signed with the Western Bulldogs, Dominique is kicking goals in many facets of her life down south.

I have just started a job as an OT assistant, working 1-1 with clients and providing OT care under supervision of occupational therapists, which is an amazing job and I’m loving every bit about it.

Armed with an occupational therapy degree from CDU, Dominique has a way to help people across the country.

Hopefully it brings her back to the NT one day, where this born-and-bred Territorian feels truly connected.

“I think the Northern Territory is the best place in the world,” she says.

“I’ll do anything I can to help other people from the NT reach their goals.”

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