Scholarship winner ready to get her dream

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As a young mother, Raylene Stringer had to ditch her dream to become a nurse, but ten years on she’s ready for another crack at it.

Raylene decided that studying to be a nurse while raising a young child and paying the bills was too much to handle, so she instead turned to a career as a vet nurse.

But with her son now grown up, Raylene has cut all luxuries from her life to head back to study full time and live her dream. “It’s hard, but I love it. I’ve given up a lot, the sacrifice is huge, but I’m not scared of a challenge.”

The full time course at NMIT takes three years to complete, but it’s not just the studies that are hard work, juggling finances at home is just as tough. “I’ve had to tighten my belt on everything, the only thing I’ve allowed myself to keep is my gym membership. Everything else has gone. I gave up coffee, although there is still instant sometimes.”

Due to her tight budget, Raylene says she looked around for what scholarships she was eligible to apply for. She came across the Soroptomist International of Waimea Scholarship Grant and, after a gruelling selection process, was picked to receive $2500 from the group.

Member Helen Bywater says there were 24 applicants this year and it was the toughest decision yet. “It was difficult this year. Very, very difficult. The thing that struck us about Raylene is that she knows where she’s going. She’s being very brave going back to full time study and she had a clear vision about where she was heading.”

The money can be used for anything that will help with her studies, says Helen, from paying power bills to study costs or even a dentist’s bill. “They’re all mature women and we trust them to use it however it will enhance their study.”

Raylene says, when she found out that she’d won the scholarship she was delighted. “I was so excited. I laughed, I cried, all those emotions. It was amazing.”

As part of the deal, Raylene must pay a couple of visits to the soroptomists throughout the year and let them know how she’s going with her study.