Dedicated. Hardworking. Genuine.
These are words we often throw around, and in doing so, they lose a little of their meaning. Hannah Messner from the small NSW town of West Wyalong is the perfect young woman to give these words their meaning back.
Believing that something is very important and giving a lot of time and energy to it; wholly committed.
Hannah grew up on the family farm with four sisters and two brothers. They were all home schooled by their Mum while Dad worked the land. She says being home schooled was great because it was so flexible, and this is where her dedication begins to shine.
During her high school years, she would get up at the crack of dawn to study before breakfast, then head out to work on the farm during the day. If this wasn’t impressive enough from a teenager, during busy periods on the farm she would take time off schooling to work, and then catch up on study during her holidays.
She says that agriculture is not just what she studies, it is what she lives and breathes. Her dedication, commitment and passion for the industry is unwavering, something she has demonstrated in her unusual, yet rewarding path to university.
Constantly, regularly, or habitually engaged in earnest and energetic work; tending to work with diligence.
It’s clear from her early years that Hannah is incredibly hardworking, and she continues to exemplify this trait in her education and training.
And she still works during her university holidays – as a farm hand, in the piggeries and as a wool classer and handler in the sheds around the West Wyalong area.
“Working in shearing sheds and on the family farm taught me a lot of things that simply aren’t possible to learn from a textbook.”
Just as important to Hannah as her studies and her work, is for young people to know there is more than one way to get to where you want to go, and she is a fantastic example of this. This is the advice she strongly believes in and wants others to know:
“I really want young people to understand that there are so many ways to reach the end goal – you don’t have to fit the stereotypical mould of ‘finish your HSC, maybe take a gap year, then head straight to uni based on your ATAR.’ My experience of getting to uni was quite different.”
- I left school at the end of year 11
- Worked in the shearing sheds
- Completed my Cert IV in Wool Classing
- Worked as a wool classer
- Completed my Diploma of Agriculture
- THEN headed to uni
“There is always more than one way to get somewhere, especially within agriculture. You just need to be willing to think outside the box and do things a little differently.”
Free from pretence, affectation, or hypocrisy; a person who is honest, truthful and sincere in the way they live.
“I definitely don’t expect things to be handed to me.”
For this young, humble country woman, who has already spent time in the ‘real world’ as she puts it, the hardest obstacle she faced when going to university was transitioning from the farm to living on campus. ‘I’m not really a party girl and prefer to spend my time in the great outdoors – also, sitting inside studying for hours each day can get hard.’
We know that she loves being outside working. But Hannah has also spent a lot of time studying and learning, so we asked about her proudest educational moment to date. Her answer is perhaps the most genuine thing we have heard. She says finishing her first university exam was a bit of a high. “Having never sat a theory exam before, I had no idea how I was going to go. Getting through that first exam in one piece was a huge relief!”
And then, she follows this on with some beautifully insightful words of her own. “When you take on the mindset, you go from believing you are entitled, to knowing you must work for what you get – be it good marks, the respect of your peers, or that job promotion.”
HOW HAS CEF HELPED HANNAH?
“I’ve used the funds from CEF to help pay for my on-campus accommodation. My local foundation has been incredibly helpful and encouraging. Kate Maslin in particular has been especially supportive. If I hadn’t received this grant, I would have had to go and work during the session, which would have meant I’d have less time to focus on my study.”