How a veterinary student left her hobby farm to forge a new path

26 May 2023
Pouring her heart and soul into animal care
Pursuing higher education in another city meant Brianna would need to leave behind the comfort of her family's farm. It was a scholarship and a love for animals that enabled her to make the move.
Brianna wearing a University of Sydney Vet School shirt holding a black chicken

Brianna's love of animals prompted her to apply for scholarships to pursue veterinary medicine at the University of Sydney.

Brianna grew up on a hobby farm in rural Wauchope, twenty minutes west of Port Macquarie, with her beloved cats, dogs, chickens, birds and Shetland pony. She wasn’t always sure what she wanted to be when she grew up, but one day while visiting her local vet she had a flash of inspiration.

“It took me a very long time to realise what I wanted to do,” she recalls. “And then I was just looking around and then it hit me instantly. I was like, ‘why don't I do vet?’ It made so much sense.”

Despite knowing what she wanted to do, Brianna’s final year of schooling was unexpectedly disrupted. Her house was devastated by floods that came so fast Brianna barely had time to save her laptop and Year 12 school notes.

"Sometimes you think a flood is slow, but the water came within like an hour or two,” Brianna recalls. “It's a double storey house and, unfortunately, my room was on the downstairs level. But I was very lucky, my family friends took me in until the end of my HSC.”

In the face of all this upheaval, Brianna kept busy caring for her animals, studying for her HSC, and preparing for the next chapter of her life. With her sights set on moving to Sydney, she knew she would need support.

She was thrilled to receive three scholarships – the Early Offer (E12) Scholarship, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Entry Scholarship, and the Eureka Benevolent Foundation Scholarship – to assist with moving costs, accommodation and various life essentials. The financial support lifted some of the pressure, and Brianna could begin living on campus comfortably.

Though her scholarships helped to get her set up, arriving at the University was still something of a culture shock.

Brianna wearing a University of Sydney Vet School shirt holding a cat

Brianna is excited to broaden her horizons by interacting with as many animals as possible while she's still learning.

“At college, I think I might be one of the only people from a rural area,” she says. “I just assumed a lot of other rural students were also applying for scholarships and coming here. It made me realise how little rural kids come to Sydney or cities, because they believe it's out of their reach. If I didn't receive any scholarships, I think it would be like constantly trying to walk up a hill with a boulder. I don't think I would be able to achieve my dream of becoming a vet.”

Living on campus has allowed Brianna to focus on excelling in her studies. She currently enjoys her animal management class and has ambitious goals to pour her “heart and soul” into becoming a wildlife vet.

Though she confesses her favourite animals are horses, she’s excited to interact with as many animals as possible and learn as much as she can while she has the chance.

“I think the more diverse the better for me. I just want to know more and want to help more. I really want to broaden my horizons and try to make a difference,” she says.

She also continues to spread the word about the good that scholarships can do for those who need them most.

"The opportunity your scholarships are giving kids furthers what they can do, even beyond the end of their degree," she explains.

To the donors who helped her find her feet, Brianna has nothing but immense gratitude.

“I don't think you understand the impact these scholarships have had on me and my family. And not only us, but the animals and ecosystems and everything I might help in the future. Because of your generosity, my dream is a reality. And I just hope you carry that with you for the rest of your life.”

By supporting education for all, you can help students from disadvantaged backgrounds to access university through life-changing scholarships, ensure they feel supported throughout their studies and enable them to achieve their full potential. 

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