Edwina Crozier’s childhood involved riding motorbikes, playing sport and enjoying country freedoms on her family’s farm. But when it came to expanding her educational opportunities, building her confidence and growing her network, she knew a city change was on the cards.
Edwina grew up in Keith, a town of around 1300 people, 225 kilometres southeast of Adelaide. Though the region is best known for its lucerne crop (alfalfa), her family has a sheep farm 20 kilometres from the main town.
Growing up, Edwina helped her dad on the farm. ‘Day to day, I’d do things like mustering, drenching and feeding sheep,’ she says. ‘Then, fencing, that’s the worst job, but there’s always so much of it to do,’ she laughs.
Edwina’s father is a third-generation farmer on the property, and Edwina is doubtful that she’ll return to take over as the fourth generation, saying she’s long had an inkling that she would end up in the city because her isolation meant fewer educational opportunities.
City life started in year 8, when Edwina started boarding at Wilderness School in Adelaide – an experience she describes as fun and formative.
‘I gained so much independence [at boarding school],’ she says. ‘Even in terms of small things like doing your own washing, cleaning your room and making your bed every day … It's a big step for someone who's quite young.’
Edwina always knew she wanted to go to university and had her sights on a law degree when she left school. However, after taking a few law subjects and getting ‘so bored’, she quickly realised law wasn’t for her. Instead, she decided to stay close to her roots and enrolled in a Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne.
‘When I got to the crossroads of "What do I want to do now?", it just felt really natural to go into agriculture,’ says Edwina, who is majoring in economics, with the goal of going into agribusiness.
After doing some research, Edwina realised that the University of Melbourne had a strong agriculture program and prepared to move to Melbourne to ‘move somewhere new, do something different and meet a lot more new people’.
Despite her positive attitude, Edwina says she was nervous about the move, mostly for a fear of not knowing anyone. She therefore thought that living on campus would be a good way to meet people.
After asking a friend in Melbourne which college she should attend, she was advised ‘definitely Trinity’, and Edwina says her friend was spot on, as she’s now having the time of her life, thanks to a scholarship.
‘It really suits my lifestyle,’ she says, admitting that the process of deciding where to live wasn’t easy. ‘It's quite overwhelming coming from interstate with so many different colleges to choose from. You're not really sure what goes where.’
But, now, when she sees her home address set as ‘100 Royal Parade’ on Google Maps, she says it makes her smile and think ‘oh yes, it is my home’. And that sense of home largely comes from the sense of community.
Edwina realised that people weren’t kidding when they said her corridor members would become like family, and she now says the nightly ‘tea time’ ritual she has with her fellow corridor members, where they sit and debrief their days, is one of the little things that makes Trinity feel like home.
‘Melbourne's such a big city and a lot of my friends have said that, although you think when you go to uni you're going to make a lot of uni friends, it's actually a lot harder than you think, because you are only spending an hour with these people every week. I think it's invaluable the friendships that you make at college.’
Edwina also says that, even though there are a lot of people at college who know each other from school or childhood, everyone wants to get to know everyone, so it was easy to make friends. And, though Edwina admits she was surprised by the number of people from Melbourne who attend Trinity, she believes it says something about the experience. ‘If people are willing to come 10 minutes from home to stay at college for an entire year, I think it shows you how good the experience is and how worthwhile it is.’
Edwina says her social skills have developed since coming to college and, despite already being quite independent, she says her confidence has grown. ‘I think maybe my fashion sense has improved quite a bit too,’ she laughs.
While Edwina loves her life in Melbourne, she also loves going home to Keith whenever she can.
But does she get put to work?
‘Yeah, I'm sure Dad will always make use of the fact that he's got some free labour on his hands,’ she laughs.