After a long day of university assignment writing and back-to-back night shifts at work, it was Natalie Lyons’ sister Rebecca who put her back on track.
“I almost cried because I felt gross and had not washed my hair, Becky made a phone call and got me into a hairdresser just to relax,” Ms Lyons recalled. “[I] am lucky to have her”.
Natalie graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Social Work on Saturday, just one day after Rebecca was awarded a nursing degree of her own.
The two sisters attended each other’s graduation ceremonies after returning to university to follow long-held dreams and change their career paths, supporting each other all the way to the celebratory end.
“Becky is part of my inspiration as she became a mum at a young age and has amazing strength,” Natalie said. “Things could have been so different without our values and family support, especially from mum.”
Rebecca graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing on Friday after working as a beauty therapist for 17 years.
She had always been interested in nursing, though raising a son – who is now 16 – meant shift work was not an option.
Around eight years ago Rebecca began a teaching degree, but a loss in the family two years in meant she had to return to full-time work.
“As the years ticked by I felt the need to go back to school and realised that by the time I finish my degree, Paddy would be finishing high school ... and I would be able to do shift work, so I enrolled in a Bachelor of Nursing,” Rebecca said.
“I also changed jobs last year and became a personal care assistant in an aged care facility which I love and find very rewarding.”
“I have been so lucky to have my family by mine and Paddy’s side every step of the way.”
“Nat has also always helped when needed, be it lending an ear for a debrief or running Paddy around if I couldn’t. Without my wonderful family I would never have got through my degree so I’m very grateful to them”.
It had been a tough period – made easier by the support of their mum and stepdad.
“I’m really looking forward to the next chapter in my life and seeing where my new carer can take me,” Rebecca added.
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