Three sisters will graduate on the same day, in a rare coincidence for Queensland’s oldest university.
Sisters Amy Hawkes, 29, of Springfield, Millicent “Mills” Ballancin, 27, of Sunnybank, and Kimberley Golding, 25, of Biggera Waters on the Gold Coast, will all be resplendent in their graduation gowns at The University of Queensland today.
The path to graduation has been marked by two weddings, the building of a house, the pressure of juggling study and work, and 12 years of unfailing support from their parents, Gary and Frances Golding.
“Mum and dad have always been very good at keeping us motivated,” said Amy, who began her UQ study in 2001, followed by Millicent in 2003 and Kimberley in 2006.
Amy graduates with a Doctor of Philosophy and Masters in Organisational Psychology at 11am.
Millicent and Kimberley graduate at 6pm, with a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy and a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery respectively.
Kimberley, who works at QE2 Hospital, said their parents’ leniency on household chores during exam times had made a huge difference, ensuring fewer interruptions during critical periods.
“Mum and Dad made university a priority. If we had an exam, they made sure things were quiet at home,” she said.
Millicent, who worked at Logan Hospital during her studies, said moral support from the entire family was vital.
“Mum and Dad always told us we could do what we wanted to do,” she said.
“You might not think it yourself, but it is important to have someone else believing it.
“You go through times when you think you want to quit and you have to keep reminding yourself of the end product – that is why you’re doing the course.
“The key was that mum and dad let us study what we have a passion for, and weren’t forcing us to do something we didn’t want to do.”
That passion, it turned out, didn’t fall far from the tree, with all three girls interested in health-related fields. Mrs Golding is a pharmacist and Mr Golding is a chemist.
“I think it’s just a part of who we are,” Amy said.
“I think we were raised with the idea of helping people.”
Millicent said the triple graduation was extremely convenient.
“It’s happened by chance, but it means we can all be there for each other on the same graduation day,” she said.
“When we were studying, we sort of shared everything and helped each other, and we had the same approach to study.
“I remember mum and dad going on an overseas trip and it was just us at home for five weeks.
“We made a big lot of pumpkin soup and that lasted two weeks and I think we might have been turning orange.”
While they stayed focused, they also had fun.
“We would be yelling between rooms if it was time for a muffin break, and we’d all run to the kitchen and have morning tea,” Millicent said.
Both Amy and Millicent married while studying.
Amy and her partner also faced the stress of building a house while she was studying.
“Having a supportive partner at home is just as important as having your family support,” she said.
Friday marks a week of mid-year graduation ceremonies for UQ, with an estimated 3300 of the 4000 graduating students attending the ceremonies.
With the first students graduating from UQ in 1913, 2013 marks 100 years of Queensland graduates. UQ now has more than 200,000 graduates, who have been making a collective impact in more than 150 countries.
Media: Janelle Kirkland, UQ Communications, 07 3346 0561 or email@example.com