My name’s Candice Liddy, I’m a physiotherapist at Movement for Life Physiotherapy and I’m from Darwin in the Northern Territory.
My family are very strong people, they have supported us, my sister and I through a lot. Mum’s always been one that has pushed us through schooling, through our other commitments with sport. She’s really been the major drive for us to succeed in education and other areas as well. Dad’s been the best role model possible with his achievements in sport and football and of course my sister who’s just been amazing role model for me education wise, she’s always strived for excellence there and achieved so many things academically that I could always look up to her, ask her questions, so approachable at any time.
My degree was a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and I studied at Melbourne University in Victoria. The process I took to enrol in university was definitely through school so I made sure I took advantage of my guidance councillor, who educated me on the process and educated me on how to properly answer essay questions and things like this, so I definitely took advantage of those support networks.
The challenges I had to overcome to get into uni definitely was the time management challenge. So halfway through my first year of year twelve I decided that I wanted to cut back on my subjects and focus on sport as well, so do three subjects in the first year of year twelve and three subjects the next year after my year had finished and that was probably the best move that I made because it allowed me to participate in sport at a higher level while I was young and while my body was still fit but also ensure that I got the marks that I needed and that was required for the course that I wanted to study.
I did use the Indigenous Support Unit* at the University of Melbourne. They helped me by accessing tutors and making sure that I had enough support academically to do well and get the marks that I needed. They also helped to provide a study space if was distracted at college, I could always go there and there’d be a computer room, there’d be printers, anything I needed I’d have access to which was great and they also helped me realise how many opportunities we have as university students. So you know if I needed financial assistance somewhere else they said ‘there are different scholarships you can take’, they up skilled us and educated us on those things, which was really helpful, not just for me but for other students as well which I guess, having the support network at home to get into uni at the beginning, I was able to know about, but other students may not have been so informed about.
My advice for others who are thinking of going to university would be to make sure you research every opportunity you can possibly get to go to university. It can be quite a challenging thing at times so knowing that there can be financial supports, there can be educational supports. Researching which uni’s offer these things, which programs you can get involved with to make sure that you do get this assistance is a huge thing. For me it was definitely a big thing, through NTIS I was able to access a sports scholarship so I could continue going to the gym and doing a hobby that I’ve always loved while studying, which helped me have a really good work life balance. So having a balance especially when doing a degree with such high workload and so many hours involved, with contact hours, with your lecturers, whether it be lecturers or through clinical placements, I always knew I could come home, go to the gym, have a bit of a balance and then get back into my studies nice and fresh.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people should definitely make sure that they get higher education whether it be at university, TAFE courses, because one, it improves your chances to get a job where you want to get a job. So whether it be back home with your family you’re more likely to be hired with a higher education. I know for me I’ve definitely had more opportunities in Darwin than I have elsewhere and Darwin is where I want to live because my family living here and my partner lives here and his family are living here, so to be able to get a job here was definitely a goal of mine.
I think that there aren’t as many Indigenous people who are seeking tertiary education at the moment and to ensure that we have a bigger role in closing the gap, we need to make sure that we take that upon ourselves to educate ourselves on how can do that the best way possible. Having an Indigenous practitioner or an Indigenous teacher is one of the most powerful things that you can have. Plus seeing Indigenous role models like my dad being a fireman in a trade or doing a different type of profession is definitely something that can impact our future generations and have them reach for goals like this to ensure that they have financial security in the future, that they secure financial security for their families as well.
*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.
Candice is a physiotherapist from Darwin, NT. When she was halfway through grade 12, Candice decided to split her final year of high school across two years so she could focus on both her academic and sporting pursuits. Candice was able to achieve the high grades she needed to study a Bachelor of Physiotherapy in Melbourne. With the support of her family and the Indigenous Education Unit at her university, Candice was able to overcome financial and academic challenges in order to successfully complete her degree. She believes that having Indigenous role models such as teachers and professionals can be an extremely powerful motivator for younger generations to aspire to higher education.