When you’re from Yeltholme in NSW, a country town of 250 people over an hour’s drive from the closest petrol station (which doubles as your shop), you’re surrounded by a strong sense of community.
“There is the highway to Bathurst and then there’s a big petrol station in the middle,” explains Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and Bachelor of Laws student Brianna Woodhead. “That petrol station is kind of the centre of Yetholme, where I grew up. It’s the only shop there.
“We had 30 acres at home so we could go for jogs and not run into anyone, but there was still a sense of community because there was so few people down our road.”
So, when the time came for Brianna to leave her hometown and start university in a big city, finding a new sense of community was high on her radar.
Brianna was successful in applying for the Northrop Grumman, ViaSat and Optus Country Scholarship for Burgmann College, a scholarship for students from rural and regional areas studying STEM fields, where she has found a new sense of community at Burgmann.
“I’m really close with my family – I’ve shared a room with my sister my whole life – so leaving home was difficult. But because there’s always stuff going on at Burgmann, it’s always fast-paced here on campus, so you don’t have the time to just sit there and think about who you’re missing!
“I started looking at universities in Sydney, but found that Canberra was the perfect step down from Sydney in terms of population and density; it has all the same facilities, but not as many people so everything’s easier to get to. It’s not too big, and not too crazy!”
Thanks to the scholarship which covers accommodation fees at Burgmann, Brianna doesn’t need to worry about finding work, meaning she can focus on her studies.
“I choose to study psychology because it’s such a big part of life. Studying psychology will enable me to understand, relate with, and help everyone around me. I know it sounds idealistic, but wherever I end up working, that will be one thing that will be useful wherever I go.”
“I’m already studying a lot, and if I had to work too, it would be hard to keep on top of everything coming in through my degree.
“Coming into the Burgmann community has been amazing. So many of the people I’m involved with are studying what I’m studying, so to be surrounded by people who understand you and can help you out is just fantastic.”