Miah Stephens and Lucy Castelletti never really intended to become paramedics. These two Sydney-based Bachelor of Paramedicine students both had very different career paths in mind during high school.
Both even studied completely unrelated degrees at other universities before discovering their ambitions actually lay in paramedicine and helping people.
Miah and Lucy are currently studying the Bachelor of Paramedicine at the University of Tasmania's Rozelle Campus in Sydney. They are loving the camaraderie and personalised learning experience that comes from studying on a smaller campus.
And since both Miah and Lucy were starting their degrees without much background in the sciences, they found this small-campus environment to be especially helpful.
"There was a lot of assumed knowledge, I think, from a basic science perspective," Miah said. "And scientific writing is a very different style of writing to what I was used to.
"So, I had a bit of catching up to do. But there were lots of resources and support to get back up to speed, and the lecturers were really happy to sit with me and help with what I needed to know."
Miah was more interested in art and drama than science all through high school. In fact, she even completed a degree in graphic design. But by the time she was halfway through that degree, she came to the realisation that graphic design was not really the career she wanted.
"I really enjoyed my first year in that degree but by my second year I wasn't quite sure it's what I wanted to do in the long term," she said.
"By my third year, I knew it just wasn't for me. I finished the degree and graduated, but I did spend that whole final year thinking a lot about what I did want to do."
In the end, it was a combination of Sydney's long COVID lockdown and Miah's TV-viewing habits that steered her in the direction she needed to go.
"All I knew was that I wanted to do something rewarding, that would make a difference in people's lives," she said.
"During COVID I was, obviously, spending a lot of time at home and I remember watching the TV show Paramedics and really getting into it. So I started doing some research into that and it just clicked. Soon it was all I could think about."
Lucy described her high school career ambitions as "all over the place," with interests that spanned from drama and English to agriculture.
"I did actually start a degree in agriculture, because I loved the science of it, but realised pretty quickly that it wasn’t what I wanted to do," she said.
"I had a friend who studied paramedicine and I liked the sound of it: a dynamic workplace, problem-solving, science, so many things. And it involved working with people and making a difference to their lives, it was everything I was looking for."
As Sydneysiders, Miah and Lucy were drawn to the fact that they could study the degree locally, at Rozelle in Sydney, with no need to relocate or study an online degree.
The Bachelor of Paramedicine is also delivered as a two-year accelerated course at Rozelle – the only fast track paramedicine course in Australia – which suited both students perfectly.
"The Rozelle Campus in Sydney is really close to where I live, which was amazing, and it has a really positive reputation in the industry," Miah said.
"And I had the option to study the accelerated degree in two years, which was very appealing to me since I'd already spent three years at uni for my other degree - it meant I could just get it done!"
Rozelle is the smallest of the University of Tasmania's four main campuses and specifically caters to teaching paramedicine, nursing, and health management.
This tight focus means students get the benefits of studying on a less crowded campus that has direct partnerships with local hospitals. Students also have access to a range of highly specialised staff, training facilities and equipment.
"And it means you actually get to know the staff as well," Lucy said. "Each of them has your best interests at heart, making sure they support you, and from the very first semester they knew us all by name and always say hello."
And with paramedics always in high demand, and close ties between the University and ambulance services, the Bachelor of Paramedicine comes with a suite of exciting career opportunities.
"I'm ready to go straight into it," Lucy said. "I've done one work placement so far and it was good to see just how varied a job it can be.
"There are so many different avenues in paramedicine, you can be in an ambulance or a helicopter, or an emergency call-taker and so on, I can't wait to get out there."
Our Sydney campus offers courses in nursing, health management, and Australia’s only fast track paramedicine degree, all in partnership with local hospitals and health service providers. If you want to learn more about Rozelle and the courses available, you can book a campus tour or virtual consult.