In her first year as a Bachelor of Criminology student, 26-year old Murraylands woman Natasha Finlay is proving that university isn’t just for SACE graduates, but for anyone who’s willing to put in the hard work and commitment to chase their dreams.
Ms Finlay didn’t actually finish high school and admits that going to uni was never on her radar back then. However, in 2020, after some life experience and a determined approach to securing her future, she used credit from her two Certificate III’s (in hospitality and business) to find a pathway in. Now she can see a future full of opportunities.
Entrenched in her first year of university as a criminology student, Ms Finlay credits a combination of self-determination and the support of the Murray River Study Hub (MRSH) team to her success so far.
“Uni definitely wasn’t high on my list when I left school,” Ms Finlay says.
“Sitting in a classroom wasn’t for me, and so I knew that the normal style of uni wouldn’t really work.
“By studying online, I can complete the course with a flexible approach and get the study done at a time that suits me and my work. I’m really happy I’ve chosen this path.
“I want to eventually get into investigations, and this degree broadens my opportunities.”
Ms Finlay said the MRSH online university model was perfect for her, because it allowed her to continue living and working part-time in the country, while she was also provided personalised study support from the MRSH team.
As a proud Aboriginal woman, Ms Finlay also hopes her story can inspire other young people from her culture to consider university.
“The study certainly isn’t easy, but it’s worth it,” Ms Finlay says.
“The degree will open a lot of doors for me, and I know I’ll be able to get further in my career.
“I heard about the Study Hub through one of my friends, who thought it might work for me. I didn’t really know what to expect, but the one-on-one support from Vanessa and Shaun has been amazing and they’re helping keep me motivated and on track.
“I don’t think you’d get that level of support from something in the city.”
Currently employed at Mobilong Prison in the administration team, Ms Finlay said she was able to draw on her knowledge and experience at work to help her with her study as well.
“My first assignment was actually on rehab, and that’s a big part of the service Mobilong offers, so that helped me a lot,” she says.
Mrs Finlay recommended the Murray River Study Hub online uni model as a great option for people in the country who don’t want to move to the city for their degree.