Most February mornings, Lily Brimblecombe would awake to the smell of cotton and the sound of crop dusting planes soaring overhead.
But this month, it was the smell of fresh textbooks and the hum of the flight simulator at the University of Southern Queensland.
Having grown up on a cotton farm in St George, Ms Brimblecombe said it was the “thrill of flying” that had drawn her to study a Bachelor of Aviation at the Toowoomba campus.
“I went on work experience when I was 15, where I flew a plane with Vanderfield at the Toowoomba aerodrome,” Ms Brimblecombe said.
“I loved every bit of it – flying it, landing it, taxiing it around on the runway.
“I was so taken with the thrill of it all, that when it came to deciding which degree to do, I went with it.”
She has now set her sights on a sky high career as an international pilot.
“The flying simulator is one of the reasons I chose the University of Southern Queensland – I’m glad I’ll be able to build my skills there before jumping into bigger planes,” she said.
“There was a bit of time during the pandemic where I wasn’t sure if I could achieve my dreams.
“But now that the borders are reopening, I can see my path and am excited for what the future holds.”
With hundreds of faraway destinations beckoning, Ms Brimblecombe says she will always carry a piece of home with her.
“I miss the smell of cotton in the morning as we near picking season – which is when the bolls are cracking,” she said.
“However, when I was leaving, my dad picked me a piece of cotton from the field and gave it to me as a way of remembering home.
“I will carry it with me wherever I go, and I can’t wait to go back and visit them this Easter.”
Ms Brimblecombe joined hundreds of other students this week at the University of Southern Queensland orientation week, held across all three campuses and online. New students were invited to take part in a range of activities from information sessions to workshops, helping them embrace University life.
Learn more about Orientation at the University of Southern Queensland.
Ms Brimblecombe joined hundreds of other students this week at the University of Southern Queensland orientation week