Student's journey from Health Science to Nutrition Degree

Michelle Thomas Nutrition degree student

Thinking about completing a Nutrition, Naturopathy or Chinese Medicine degree? Read about Michelle’s Diploma of Health Science student experience and how this has set her up for success in a Bachelor of Nutrition and her advice for those interested in following a similar path.

Students come to Torrens University with certain ideas about what they will learn in their courses. Then by the time they’ve completed their degrees, they realise they’ve gained so much more than they ever anticipated. That was the case for Michelle Thomas, who has graduated with a Diploma of Health Science and is now undertaking the Bachelor of Nutrition.

Michelle’s discovery of Health Science courses

Michelle’s first discovery about the Diploma course was that it took her right into the science of heath.

‘I have friends doing Western Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy and I expected it would be more like that, but with a focus on food, but it isn’t. It is very much a Health Sciences course.’ Reflecting on the life skills she’s acquired during her studies Michelle says, ‘I have gained a lot of confidence that was sorely needed, I have gained computer skills, and my brain is getting so big that one day it will start leaking out of my ears! In truth, it has settled me; I had been in the one job so long, a non-challenging job, that I had forgotten how intelligent I was, that I was more than a set of hands, and I had never realised what a strong urge I have to nurture. I look at the world very differently now; before I never looked beyond my own boundaries, and they were pretty tight.’

Saying thank you to her Health Science lecturers and career advisor

Michelle surprised and delighted her lecturers, Manal Ibrahim and Helen Russell-Jones, and Naomi Nudge, her Course & Career advisor, when she sent this thank-you video, expressing what studying with them at Torrens University means to her.

‘Manal has such a depth of knowledge in her subject. She also has a wonderful way with young (and not so young) students, always accessible, always kind; she truly did begin in me a burning desire for knowledge that I’m sure I will never be able to put out. With Helen, I recognised her as a kindred spirit right away. Mostly I think she found me bizarre and hilarious at first, but I persevered and I now count her as friend. Helen did the most for my self-esteem, she believed so much in my big brain that I started to believe in it myself. Naomi, who was my Course & Career advisor, was the one who got me started, who held my hand through all the scary beginning stuff, who was always there when I had an issue, and is still there for me when I have a problem no one else seems able to solve. I came to her a clapped-out almost 50-year-old chef with dodgy health and low self-esteem, and she believed in me when I had no reserves to believe in myself, and she still believes in me. Now with the help of Torrens and Naomi, Manal, Helen, my uni buddies and my family, I can hold that candle on my own, but Naomi certainly was the one who held it for me until I was strong enough to take it.’

Today, Michelle has the confidence and skills to encourage others to improve their health and wellbeing.

‘I am using my studies to try to help people learn to cook and eat a healthier array of meals. I have a teaching blog, Cookie House Kitchen, and I talk about nutrition and fabulous food and how to combine them so that one doesn’t necessarily exclude the other.’

Michelle Thomas' Cookie House Kitchen

Michelle's Cookie House Kitchen

Michelle’s advice for future Nutrition students

‘Start with a Diploma and get that done. A lot of people drop away after the first year because it is a prodigious amount of work, but stay with it. Once you complete the Diploma, you’ll have something tangible to take with you. If you have a lot of other commitments, then start with only one subject or two. I realise now that you have an extra, unseen, ungraded subject in that first trimester and that is learning to navigate university life.

Torrens University Health Science Pathway Program

Completing a Diploma of Health Science, as Michelle did, opens up pathways into other Health courses, such as Naturopathy or Chinese Medicine. So, it’s a great way to begin when you’re not exactly sure what you want to study. In Michelle’s case, this sparked a fire in her to study Nutrition after completing her Health Science course. Upgrade your Diploma to a Bachelor qualification through a Diploma of Health Science pathway program.

Michelle’s advice is to ‘Choose a course you are interested in but be prepared for your interests to veer off in ways you never expected. I went into this course wanting to understand why I can’t eat grains when so many can. Now I am fascinated by the human body and have a deep-seated need to go into the aged care system and make some real changes so that our most vulnerable people are looked after nutritionally and culinarily, because if you are gluten intolerant at 30, that is not going to go away just because you are 70.

‘Be open to friendships, I gathered a group of uni buddies who have formed into a tight clan that cheers each other on. Most of all, enjoy it, don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be shy, be interactive, you will get so much more out of your course if you do. Have fun, be open to learning and you may just discover that you are far more capable than you think.’

‘I learned that I am capable of and worth so much more than I ever thought.’

In her beautiful video, Michelle thanks her Torrens University community, and we want to thank her and all the students who are open to learning something new about themselves during their academic journey.

‘I learned that I am capable of and worth so much more than I ever thought.’

In her beautiful video, Michelle thanks her Torrens University community, and we want to thank her and all the students who are open to learning something new about themselves during their academic journey.

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