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Southern Cross University graduate’s inspirational journey

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Contact Adam Walters
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Of the many high achievement stories to emerge from today’s graduation of Southern Cross University students, the journey of Erica Finlay-Dingle is among the most inspirational.

Of the many high achievement stories to emerge from today’s graduation of Southern Cross University students, the journey of Erica Finlay-Dingle is among the most inspirational.

At the age of 13 Erica was living on the streets of Sydney, and now 28 years later she’s realised a life-long dream to become a registered nurse.

“Some aspects of my story are sad and others represent the best possible outcomes reached, however I feel my story has made me whom I am today, a strong Indigenous member of the community who can now say, I am a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor Degree,” Erica said.

Erica said Southern Cross University could not have been more accommodating in helping her.

 “I was not sure how I would gain entry with only completed Year 8 in high school due to finding myself pregnant,” Erica recalled.

“I spoke to a lovely lady from Southern Cross University that offered me the Preparing for Success (PSP) program. I then found myself packing-up the family home of nine years and relocated to Lismore.

“I learnt so much through the PSP program and decided to go for it with my Degree, this was the best decision I have ever made in my life and future for my career.

“I have just completed my degree and yes, I can honestly say, it was never easy because I also struggle with dyslexia - recognised by my tutors from the Indigenous Aboriginal student support services while completing the PSP.

But Erica refused to allow dyslexia to deter her.

“Yes, I struggled with understanding on many occasions however, I had great tutors and managed to keep the same one for the last two years of my degree.

“With her encouragement, understanding, acceptance and support of my disability, together we made sure I had given my very best in all written and practical assessments, to complete my degree.”

Along with her children Erica said the degree is her proudest achievement.

“I am very proud to say that I have finally competed my dream and reached a major goal for myself. I am currently the only family member in my mob, that has ever entered university and that is a milestone for our young future family members,” she said.


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