Basking in the genius of nature has always been a nurturing time out for Hastings’ Dylan Mason, as well as a place of inspiration to forge ahead when things have been somewhat chaotic.
Like so many CEF-supported students, coming from Upper Rollands Plains near Port Macquarie on the NSW North Coast, Dylan Mason had a limited experience of city life and its consequential queues, public transport navigation and anonymity.
His tertiary education journey began earlier this year when he commenced a double degree in environmental science and advanced studies at the University of Sydney that includes classes at Taronga Zoo Sydney.
After feeling thrown in the deep end during his first semester, it turns out Dylan’s a swimmer; producing great marks, as well as growing with his course and to the appeal of campus life.
Standing up to challenges isn’t anything new to Dylan. His parents separated when he was young; with his Mum being the sole carer of Dylan and two brothers who have a mixture of ADHD, anxiety and high-functioning autism.
Dylan’s belief in further education has been as constant as his awareness that to explore the worlds of environmental science and wildlife conservation, he’d need to be financially independent.
“Sometimes there’s been pressure to put my studies aside…but it’s a lot better than what it used to be,” Dylan said.
“The whole university experience has been overwhelming. I’d never been into the city before and only to Sydney about four times. I moved here with a mate from school [St Joseph’s Regional College, Port Macquarie] and we made new friends together.”
Dylan is now vice president of the Sydney Bushwalkers Club, enjoying the chance to get out of the city to pursue hobbies that keep his mind clear.
Moving into second semester, Dylan’s enjoying the opportunity to tailor his studies with a more practical element; and even the chance to extend his horizons.
In 2019 Dylan Mason is supported by the Hastings Education Fund with a $5000 education grant and a $4000 University of Sydney-CEF national scholarship thanks to the University of Sydney and CEF partnership.