Caitlin Robinson-Cleary, from Cherbourg, is studying nursing at the University of Southern Queensland (Photo: USQ)

May 30, 2022

“Be Brave, Make Change”  may be the theme for this year’s National Reconciliation Week but the words also resonate deeply with Wakka Wakka woman Caitlin Robinson-Cleary.

Caitlin, 22, is a studying a Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Southern Queensland.

She grew up in Cherbourg under the care of her grandparents.

While other children were busy playing with dolls, Caitlin was helping raise her seven siblings.

“My grandparents are rock stars,” Caitlin said. “Not only did they care for their own children and grandchildren, but they had foster kids, too.

“I was always helping them out wherever I could and learning from their example.”

From applying Band-Aids to removing splinters, Caitlin’s desire to care for others eventually morphed into dreams of working as a nurse.

This is now becoming a reality at university.

“It was the bravest thing I have ever done,” Caitlin said.

“No one in my family has ever taken these steps before. I’m the first one to go to university so I had no one to look up to for guidance.”

Caitlin left high school without the necessary entry requirements to study nursing.

Undeterred, she completed an Indigenous Higher Education Pathways Program before enrolling in the Bachelor degree.

“My advice is just to go for it,” Caitlin said.

“Everything may look scary and intimidating, but you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t go for it.

“Believe in yourself and who you are – take that step towards your dreams and goals.”

Professor Tony Dreise, who heads First Nations Education and Research at the University of Southern Queensland, said bravery and change were at the heart of this year’s National Reconciliation Week.

“If you want to help change the world, it starts with changing yourself,” Prof Dreise said.

“Ask yourself, ‘What makes me curious?’”

“Whether it’s nursing or aviation or education, we need more First Nations people at our universities because getting a higher education is a sure way of bringing about positive change.”

National Reconciliation Week runs from May 27 to June 3.


Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables

 

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