As a timid yet inquisitive 5-year-old, I arrived for my first day at Linuwel anxiously anticipating what was to come. Meeting Margaret, new friends who are still friends to this day and seeing, for the first time, the big red kindy rug which would come to represent everything safe, comforting and secure for that first year of school, remain vivid memories for me.

In year one, Greig took over my schooling and for the next six years taught me everything from maths and science to abseiling, camping and how to properly use an axe. Most importantly what he instilled in me in those six years was a love of learning and a deep understanding of how to learn. These skills have served me extremely well through eight years of university (and counting).

In year seven Tracey took on the challenge of teaching me to be artistic, something I failed at miserably despite her best efforts. Fortunately, I showed an aptitude for maths and science which Tracey strongly encouraged and nurtured during the time I was in her class.

After ten years at Linuwel, a tradition upheld by my three siblings, I left to attend All Saint’s College St Joseph’s campus moving on to the St Mary’s campus senior school for years 11 and 12.

After completing my HSC I was accepted into a bachelor of Physiotherapy at Charles Sturt University in Albury. Deciding that I wasn’t quite ready to dive headlong back into study I took a gap year and went cattle mustering in New Zealand and then bar tending in Tamworth. What I learned in that year out was how to be self sufficient, budget (although I didn’t always do a brilliant job at that) and most importantly, how keen I was to continue learning, a reminder of Greig’s lesson from years before.

Arriving for my first day of university, I knew that that year off had equipped me to tackle what was to come in the four-year course. When people ask me know if they should take a year off or ‘let’ their kids do so, I always say that my year out represented a formative experience for me and helped me to achieve strong results at university.

After graduating, I moved to Taree for 18 months and then Tasmania for 6 months, working as a Physiotherapist. While I loved that time and the responsibilities I got to undertake, once again I felt that pull to continue learning. My mother and older brother are General Practitioners and I remember growing up fascinated by what Mum was doing everyday.

Because of this, I decided to sit the GAMSAT and try for post graduate medicine. After a lot of study and hard work I was accepted into the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery course at the University of Wollongong.

I completed this degree last year and have moved back to Tamworth to complete my two years of interning. My plan is to specialise in either Emergency Medicine or to follow in Mum’s footsteps and go into General Practice. I know that I still have a lot of years of learning ahead of me, but thanks to what Linuwel, my teachers and my peers instilled in me, I know I’ll be able to tackle it. The key thing I learnt from my time at Linuwel was that learning doesn’t just happen from books or traditional study, it also comes from those around you and getting outside and experiencing the world.

I have no doubt that without the education and experience I received during the ten, formative years I spent at Linuwel, I would not be the person I am today nor would I have pushed myself to keep learning and gone into medicine, a vocation that I absolutely love.

Dr Zachary Kesby