For school leaver Abbey Love, fear of the unknown loomed as a roadblock that threatened to stall a long-held ambition to change lives.
Timetabling, lectures, course credit and assessment sparked in her an uneasiness about change that was even more daunting than the VCE she had just completed.
"The most daunting thing for me about tertiary study was not knowing what to expect and how big of a change it would be from high school," she said.
Looking back, she needn't have worried.
Ms Love found her feet in higher education after enrolling in a Diploma of Nursing course at ACU College's Ballarat Campus.
ACU College is a nationally accredited registered training organisation with campuses in Victoria, ACT, Queensland, and NSW.
There, she found guidance and support from educators who helped fill her with the confidence needed to pursue her learning journey.
"The lecturers really helped by providing extra assistance with assessments, and also support whenever it was needed," Ms Love said.
"They helped me get the most out of the course."
As a teenager Ms Love was inspired to choose a career in health after seeing the impact nurses had on family members during hospital stays.
"I chose nursing as a career after I saw the difference nurses can make in a patient's care and treatment," she said.
"After having family members in the hospital and seeing how well they were cared for I realised I wanted to be able to do that for others."
Her decision paid off.
The extra care and support from the Ballarat teaching staff enabled Ms Love to not only develop her skills as a student nurse, but also build all-round confidence.
The more she learned, the more she flourished at ACU College. Academic improvement saw her presented with a 2018 First State Super/Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Vic Branch) Student Award recipient from ACU College.
After putting her nervous start behind her, Ms Love completed her diploma in July 2019.
"I would recommend this pathway to anyone wanting to study nursing who feels they learn better in a practical environment rather than a theory-based environment," she said.
After taking a short break from study, Ms Love will seek work as an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse (EEN) before beginning a Bachelor of Nursing degree at Australian Catholic University in 2020.
ACU College's Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115) is the first step towards becoming a registered nurse in a hospital, aged care facility, community care setting and more. Find out where the college's Diploma of Nursing (HLT54115) can take you by attending an information session at ACU's Ballarat campus library on 20 January from 11am-12pm. At the event you will have the opportunity to talk to course experts, discuss your career options, learn how to apply and tour the Ballarat campus.