Naomi set her sights on studying at Australia’s number one university at an early age. Her goal was clear, to study medicine and become a Doctor. Her home town of Wangaratta, is located three hours from Melbourne in rural Victoria, so finding the right university accommodation was a priority. “The idea of living in a college caught my attention. Coming from a country town where everyone talks to everyone the community aspect of college life really appealed. So, I signed up for a tour at most of the colleges”.
The tour at St Hilda’s was the standout one for her. Naomi’s guide was warm, funny and welcoming. “He talked about life at St Hilda’s, and the importance placed on community. I liked that”.
Born to Romanian parents just one year after their arrival in Australia, Naomi and family moved to Wangaratta so they could run a farm. They have cattle, and theirs is one of just ten chestnut farms in the North East region of Victoria. The local population is around 30,000 people. Naomi attended Cathedral College, where she was House Captain to 100 students from Prep to Year 12. A keen sportswoman, she played soccer for Wangaratta, as well as tennis and softball. “Athletics is the sport I really love. I have participated in this at college too, along with soccer, softball, hockey and tennis. I even tried out for footy which was really fun”.
Naomi was active in the community in Wangaratta, contributing as a leader in the Army Cadets. Her duties as a Corporal included working with a group of 13 to 15-year old’s teaching them marching drills, navigation, first aid and radio skills. “We were sent on a leadership course where we learned to plan activities and excursions. It was a lot of fun”. She was also on the town Youth Council where she worked as Deputy Mayor.
“Coming to College it was very hard to leave my family, but I knew I was ready to grow and embark on the career path that would lead me to becoming a doctor. At the University of Melbourne, I have been challenged in all my subjects. There is so much content to get through – it has been hard but enjoyable. The lecturers are so engaging, and I love the diversity of teaching techniques they each offer. I really enjoy the tutorials and lectures!” Naomi continues: “College provides such a conducive environment for studying and I have been able to knuckle down and make the most of it. The residential tutorials here are really engaging – I go to the Chemistry, Biology and Psychology ones. I love the focus on each of us – the tutors help us with the content and make sure that everyone in our small group understands. The whole experience has exceeded my expectations”.
If Naomi were to choose one word to sum up the St Hilda’s experience it would be opportunity. She feels the college has given her so much already, and she could not have come without the scholarship. Inspired by two of her childhood heroes, Leonardo da Vinci and Einstein, she too wants to make a change in the world. She is not sure yet whether she will pursue research in oncology or follow a more ‘hands-on’ path and become a surgeon.