Transcript

My name’s Jasmin and I’m a proud descendent of the Bindal and Gunditjmara clans. It’s always been an aspiration of mine to pursue social justice for my people, so studying law made sense.

These days I love calling Darwin home.  I get to do hands on work as an advocate for aboriginal land rights. I reckon my grandparents would be really proud!

Take it from me, higher education can lead to great things.  So go on visit thinkyourway.edu.au.

Jasmin's Story

Transcript

My name is Jasmin and I’m originally from Townsville but currently living in Darwin.  I am a solicitor at the Northern Land Council.

I was born and bred in Townsville and I come from two large aboriginal families in North Queensland and also Western Victoria.  My families are two strong proud Indigenous families and I come from a family of seven children.

The reason why I enrolled in university and specifically to study law was because of the social justice background of both of my respective families.  I grew up going to rallies and being quite politically active with my family in Townsville and Portland so that was one of the main influences of my aspirations.

My grandfather actually also wanted to be a lawyer however he didn’t have the opportunities that young people like me have today and I never met him but his aspiration and goal in life was always to study law.

Another major influence in my career choice to become a solicitor was my Aunty Sandra who went against a multi-national mining company in the 70’s before land rights and native title, to assert the rights of the Gunditjmara people and she was a staunch advocate and still is, and she’s one of the role models I have in my journey in land rights and native title.

The avenue that I took as a pathway to enrolling at university was to attend an open day at James Cook University.  I also engaged with the Indigenous support staff* at the law faculty who really showed me the different avenues of how to enrol.

I really excelled in high school, so I thought that university would be similar and quite an easy route but after attending university I realised that it was going to be a lot more difficult and that I would have to be extremely motivated and really focused to study university. However it was a really exciting pathway and I really enjoyed the challenge.

So some of the challenges that I had to overcome to get to university was self doubt and believing in myself but also other people doubting me at school including teachers not believing that I could achieve the goals that I had set for myself.  Also selecting subjects and trying to achieve the overall grades that I needed to get into university, was also another challenge and just really balancing my family, life, and working during school as well as my studies and the stress that that involves.

One of the real challenges that I found was that I was the only Indigenous student in a lot of my classes, so at times it felt quite isolating being the only Aboriginal/ Torres Strait Islander person in my classes however, I tried to turn that into a positive by being able to bring Indigenous perspectives into my classes and sharing that with my fellow students and lecturers.

And overcoming some of those challenges I think was really important to surround myself with mentors and people that I could look up to and that could provide me with some guidance as to how to get to university and to be successful in tertiary study.  The assistance that I received from the Indigenous support staff* at our faculty of law, business and creative arts was extremely helpful during my journey. They assisted me in linking up with mentors, with obtaining cadetships and scholarships and also just providing the day to day support and counselling that you require as a uni student.  I found that there was a lot of information readily available at our university through our support staff who were willing to assist linking us up with different cadetships and opportunities and also assisting us to apply.

I found law to be a really exciting and dynamic field of work to be employed in.  I also I believe that it provides a lot of different exciting pathways for students, be it practicing in law or being a policy officer or an advocate in other areas.  I also believe that there’s a lot of over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the justice system, so having Indigenous perspectives in the legal system and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander faces in courts and in all different organisations and government, is a benefit to the wider Australian population and also to our people.

Studying at university has opened a lot of career pathways for me and provides an opportunity to develop yourself personally and professionally.  Also to have certainty in a career going into the future and I would definitely encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to consider their options and not being afraid to explore tertiary education.

*Note: each university may refer to their local Indigenous support services in different ways e.g. Indigenous Education Units; Indigenous Support Units; School of Indigenous Australian Studies; Indigenous Institute etc., and may include Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander language in the naming title, as relevant to the local area. 

Jasmin's Interview

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Location: Darwin

Occupation: Lawyer

Advocacy and activism come naturally to Jasmin, a proud Bindal and Gunditjmara woman from Townsville originally, who now calls Darwin home. As one of seven children from a proud Aboriginal family, Jasmin says her inspiration to follow a career in law came from a young age, motivated by the plight of both her Aunty Sandra who fearlessly took on a big mining company in the 70s, pre-native title, to pursue land rights for the Gunditjmara people and her Grandfather, who sought but never was able to fulfill a legal career. Settling into her role as an advocate for Aboriginal land rights in the Northern Territory, Jasmin shares the difficult challenges she faced at uni juggling study and work and being the only Indigenous student in her course. Undeterred, Jasmin is passionate about Indigenous youth considering higher education as a pathway to make positive change for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.