Open Foundation graduate Charlotte Kilminster is taking on a new challenge, studying a Bachelor of Nursing on the Central Coast with the dream of being able to support her local community.

After falling pregnant during Year 12 and having two more boys, Charlotte’s focus was on family rather than university. She wanted something more so applied for Open Foundation and successfully completed the program.

“My first son was born when I was 18 and then my other two when I was in my early 20’s. My focus was to raise them to be contributing and self-sufficient young men. Now that they are older, I am able to take my education further and focus on my dream of becoming a nurse.

Charlotte’s pathway to university was quite sudden, she was stuck in an unfulfilling retail job and wanted more for herself and for her family but was unsure of how to get it. Her mother came across the Open Foundation program on the Central Coast with only one week left to enrol. Charlotte said, “We started reading through the Open Foundation information. In a sense it seemed too good to be true. Here was a free University program, and all I had to do was apply. It was at that time when I thought, ‘It’s now or never!’. I applied and was accepted”.

“I remember attending the Open Foundation orientation day. That first day I walked onto Ourimbah Campus. I suddenly felt my dreams were possible, that I could actually be a University student, could actually begin to create the career and life I chose. Everyone was so supportive and there was such a community feel about the campus. The staff were all so welcoming which helped calm my nerves”.

Charlotte has had to overcome many challenges in her life. “Managing a household, with three sons and not having undertaken any formal study for 20 years was a huge obstacle for me to overcome” says Charlotte.

“I really did not think I would ever attend University. I left home just after my 17th birthday and lived independently. Then, at the beginning of Year 12 I found out I was pregnant with my eldest son. I made the decision to continue with high school and graduated when I was 8 months pregnant.

“I have had to overcome a great deal, as I’m sure many people have. Since I was a teenager, I have struggled with my mental health, though in the last 5 years there has been a huge turn-around in my life, via strong support and learning. Without this I would not have been able to achieve all I have at university.

After successfully completing the Open Foundation program, Charlotte is now studying a Bachelor of Nursing at the Central Coast Ourimbah campus while her son studies Business at the University of Newcastle Callaghan campus and her mother studies a Fine Arts degree.

“Since I was young, I have been naturally drawn to helping people, with a strong interest in the medical profession. Combining these interests to make a career path for myself seemed like a natural progression.

“I have always sought to work within my community toward empowering people – whether that be to find a solution to a difficult life situation, to overcome barriers and challenges or to attain a dream or goal. I love my local community on the Central Coast and believe the more I learn the more I can bring to this community” says Charlotte.

Charlotte encourages others to apply for a pathway program who don’t think university is for them. “I truly didn’t think I could study at a University level and am surprised at how much I have enjoyed my time at the University of Newcastle. I think sometimes people can get caught up in the What ifs; What if I don’t pass? What if it’s too hard? What if I don’t get it? What if I fail? You won’t know until you try!”.

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Charlotte

Charlotte Kilminster

Open Foundation graduate Charlotte Kilminster is taking on a new challenge, studying a Bachelor of Nursing on the Central Coast.

I truly didn’t think I could study at a University level and am surprised at how much I have enjoyed my time at the University of Newcastle.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.