Naomi Fenton - recent alumna and University Medal winner for Psychology When Naomi found out she was the recipient of a Dunmore Lang College / Macquarie University Regional and Rural Scholarship she couldn’t believe she was about to embark on a university degree after dropping out of high school. Now, four years on, Naomi was awarded the University Medal, the highest postgraduate honour awarded to a student and is proof that finding your passion, having financial stability and being a part of a supportive, vibrant community leads to success! We sat down with Naomi and asked her to share a little about her journey. Tell us a little bit about yourself. My family are farmers originally from Moree, although I spent a lot of time on the Central Coast about an hour from Sydney. I struggled with mental health while growing up and dropped out of high school before eventually feeling I was ready to study again and applied to Macquarie University. Why did you study Psychology? Because it would enable me to make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives. I was also influenced by my volunteering experience in Uganda and by the positive impact of psychological therapy when I was younger. How did the accommodation scholarship assist with your study and access to education? It was life changing – being around other students meant I always had friends to study with and motivate me. It also meant I could afford to study in Sydney plus having meals provided saved time and money as did the five-minute walk to class (somehow still managed to be late!). What were the highlights from at DLC? DLC is a super supportive environment with a lot of diversity in culture, sexuality, gender, and ability. College fostered an atmosphere that celebrated, welcomed, and respected those differences. I held several leadership roles through student committees and becoming a Residential Adviser where I supported other students and helped to shape the culture of the college. Any advice for students starting university? Stay balanced, prioritise study and down time - take care of yourself and be self-compassionate. Don't lose sight of your values and goals. And remain persistent, even in the face of adversity.