The Hastings Education Fund (HEF) provides financial assistance to our local youth, helping them to achieve their tertiary education, training and career goals. Eliza Metz completed the majority of her schooling in Port Macquarie and is a recipient of a Hastings Education Fund grant.
Currently studying a Bachelor of Medical Science/Doctor of Medicine at UNE, Armidale, Eliza is extremely grateful for the support she’s received and encourages all local individuals and businesses to consider becoming an HEF sponsor …
Hi Eliza. What’s your background in the Port Macquarie area?
My family moved to Port Macquarie from Junee in 2005. I completed Year 6 and 7 at Heritage Christian School and then finished my high school studies at St Paul’s High School and MacKillop Senior College.
I had a great time growing up in Port Macquarie and was pretty involved in swimming, surf lifesaving, Vinnie’s Youth and was generally active around the place!
I completed the HSC in 2011 and spent my gap year working in Port Macquarie, primarily as a Teacher’s Aide at St Paul’s, which was such a valuable experience.
What were your career aspirations while you were at school – and have these changed since?
They never changed; it just took a while to get where I wanted to go! I remember in Year 6 I had decided that I was either going to go into politics or become a doctor, and I settled pretty strongly on the latter.
I found the HSC quite challenging and whilst I finished with an ATAR I was proud of, it wasn’t enough to get into any medical course, so I was deciding between International Studies and Biomedical Science at UNE, Armidale, with an end goal to move into medicine. I eventually decided on Biomedical Science, because I’ve always loved science, and I eventually moved into research with a year of Honours in Physiology.
I finished my honours with an offer to study a PhD in the same subject matter. Whilst I was quite excited about that opportunity and the chance to contribute to research, I had finally achieved my goal of getting accepted into medicine! Naturally, I took up the offer and am happy to say I’m in my second year of a Bachelor of Medical Science/Doctor of Medicine at UNE, Armidale, and it’s exactly what I want to be doing, as challenging as it is.
You were a fortunate recipient of support from the Hastings Education Fund. How did you find out about the fund?
I knew going into decisions about university that I had to find an affordable way to do it, which still now almost feels impossible! I was researching all the scholarships I could apply for, and I was lucky that MacKillop was aware of so many. At the time I applied there were three amounts offered for students moving away to study, as there weren’t as many study options in Port Macquarie at the time.
I have to say that the application and interview processes were so supportive and such a learning opportunity, that even if I had been unsuccessful it would still have been a positive experience.
What type of assistance were you offered by the fund – and how has it helped you to achieve your goals?
I was very grateful to receive the larger bursary offered by the fund at the time, and that helped me pay for my initial deposit for accommodation at college and the following first invoice. This was so helpful, as I hadn’t secured work before I moved and was waiting for my Youth Allowance application to be approved.
Being able to stay at college, which was only possible through the scholarship, was such a blessing for me, as I lived there for four years, three of which I held leadership positions – which were an incredibly valuable learning and professional experience and where I also made some lifelong friends and worked alongside some great colleagues.
Being able to stay at college helped me stay focused on my studies in a supportive environment, still with enough time to manage a waitressing job.
Why would you encourage businesses/individuals to become HEF sponsors?
Further study following school, whether at university or other institutions, incurs many costs for students. These are not always met by available student payments from the government and place a lot of stress on students. I’ve been so lucky to have received scholarships that have eased the financial burden and allowed me to focus on my studies so that when qualified, I can contribute to society and return the investment to the community.
Last year I went to an HEF event, and it was so extraordinary to meet some of the sponsors who did invest in their community’s future through students, and I think that’s a great thing that businesses and individuals are able to do through HEF.
I know when I’ve graduated I’m certainly going to make it a priority to return the service and assist in the provision of scholarships for students, particularly rural students, because I know exactly how life changing it can be.
What are your future plans?
More study! I’m in my second year of a five year degree currently, so will be studying in Armidale again next year, and the following years I’ll be placed in various hospitals around NSW to complete my degree. When I graduate in 2021, I’d like to have a professional focus on rural health, with a good balance between work, study and travel!
Interview: Jo Robinson.
A few words from the Hastings Education Fund Committee
The most important source of funding for the Hastings Education Fund is through sponsorship by local businesses and individuals. A Gold Sponsorship is $1,000 per annum and provides the sponsor with a range of benefits, including recognition in many formats throughout the year – the sponsorship levels increase and the recognition and benefits to the sponsor also increase accordingly.
Best of all, each sponsor has the knowledge they are supporting young local people to become adults who make positive contributions to our community through their studies and careers … students who may not be able to achieve these goals without our assistance.
Hastings Education Fund stands out from the rest, as EVERY dollar donated by our sponsors goes to the students.
We happily give money every day to health research and many other charities, but who will continue the research in years to come? With your help, some of our local students will be the ones to find the next medical breakthrough or to invent the solution to our environmental issues.
To register your interest in becoming a sponsor, or to give a donation in kind, email: firstname.lastname@example.org