Annie Derrick is more than 800km from the home farm in Temora NSW as she enters her second year of study at the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale. Currently studying a Bachelor of Accounting, she is passionate about farm life and hopes to go on to become a chartered accountant, keen to take her knowledge back to rural and regional communities, with a particular focus on farming.
When asked if she would ever consider returning to country Australia for work after completing her study she says: “Absolutely! I would love to return to my hometown to work and help the farming community and townspeople.” Annie knows all too well the struggles that farmers face with her family in their third year of drought, she knows this battle is one faced by many rural and regional communities and families and this drives her passion to help. As if this was not enough additional strain in her first year of university, Annie also needed wisdom teeth removed and lost her grandmother during the year.
Being so far from family and from home during difficult times has without doubt been the biggest challenge for Annie, but she says, “it definitely has been the right choice for me.” When she’s not hitting the books learning to crunch numbers, Annie can be found spending time with new friends in Armidale, and like many country girls, on a netball court.
”...with this current drought I was very concerned about my finances. The grants I received helped my parents out a lot and allowed me to purchase textbooks without the guilt of them being too costly.
Annie is very grateful for the support she has received from the Temora & District Education Fund, and from CEF partnerships with Findex Community Fund and the University of New England (UNE) Foundation. “My parents helped me with my accommodation costs and with this current drought I was very concerned about my finances. The grants I received helped my parents out a lot and allowed me to purchase textbooks without the guilt of them being too costly. These grants were amazing and I don’t know what I would have done without them!”
Despite the challenges that Covid-19 has bought this year, Annie’s passion for accounting and helping rural and regional communities has only strengthened. She also says that “university has ultimately given her lifelong friends.”
As she reflects on her first-year university experience, what advice does she have for the next generation of country students? “Don’t be disheartened if you don’t know exactly what you want to do after school. Studying after school gives you a unique opportunity to explore your strengths and find something you are passionate about.”