Bill Nicholes lived and worked on his family's farm, Willigobung, near Tumbarumba in New South Wales, for most of his life. He also cared for his elderly parents at the farm as their health deteriorated. Bill's experiences caring for his parents and his own medical conditions most likely contributed to his decision to leave a generous bequest of more than $4.2 million to support graduate medicine students at ANU.
Lorane Gaborit is the first recipient of the Bill Nicholes 'Willigobung' Scholarship. Here, she reflects on the reality of fulfilling her childhood dream of studying medicine.
From a young age, I knew I wanted to work in a field where I could make a positive impact. It sounds really clichéd, but I knew I wanted to help others.
During my first year at ANU, I took electives in science, although I was awful at chemistry and it put me off science for a while. I'm glad I felt so inherently drawn to the practice of medicine and had the right mentors to emphasise that medicine is much more than just straight science.
Throughout my undergraduate degree, I was lucky enough to spend some time in a couple of different rural and remote parts of Australia, where I met a lot of amazing people, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who were working in the health sector in their communities.
I became really interested in Indigenous health, and other aspects of community healthcare provision like cultural safety and health justice.
Last year I worked in policy and communications for the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association, which was an absolute privilege. I hope to be part of the Indigenous Health stream and to work on a research project looking at these sorts of issues.
My first few months at medical school have been primarily focused around bringing everyone up to a level playing field in basic biomedical science knowledge and skills. The idea of doing an intensive biomedical bridging course in two months sounds really intimidating but it has been a very supportive environment.
Maybe I'm biased, but the community at ANU and the ANU Medical School is really great. Even within just a few days, almost everyone knows you by name. That's really important, especially when you may feel a bit out of place - in my case because I've come from a non-science background, but for others because they've moved far from home.
When you do a postgraduate medical course, you meet people who have led these crazy past lives which seem completely unrelated to medicine, alongside many who seem to have been waiting to do medicine their whole life. I think deep down I am one of those people even if I didn't realise it initially.
It is really exciting and a huge privilege to be able to look ahead to everything that is to come.