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Student of the Year 2023 Winner Q&A

By Olivia Croker

1. What attracted you to the natural medicine industry as a career choice?

My mum and aunties influenced my interest in wellness practices, nutrition and natural living as a teenager. I considered other career choices that could provide prestige and would satisfy mainstream society but I always returned to complementary medicine as my passion. What attracted me most was the opportunity to live a life of service to others, improving lives and enriching my own life with the knowledge I could gain as a natural medicine practitioner.

2. Which therapy type interested you the most and why?

I read an article about naturopathy when I was 15 and I immediately knew that it was what I wanted to do. I was interested because it combines my love of nutrition with the benefits of herbal medicine and has a holistic focus on health and wellbeing. When I saw naturopaths I was in awe of how caring and knowledgeable they were and I wanted to know what they knew! I also had work experience with a Sydney naturopath and was inspired by her to start the course.

3. Tell us about the course that you’re completing and what you enjoy the most.

I started studying a Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy) at Endeavour College in 2020 and have loved it since the very first day! I was surprised at the depth of the subjects and how much content is jam-packed into the four-year course. What I enjoy most about it is the range of subjects we complete from physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pharmacognosy, botany, manufacturing, nutritional science, counselling, herbal medicine and so much more! The course has really supported my critical thinking and sparked a deep passion for all things naturopathy.

4. Have you completed the student clinic? If so, what are some of the key learnings you’ve discovered?

Student clinic has really built my confidence and faith in myself as an emerging practitioner. One of the key learnings has been realising my role as a naturopath is not to heal but to facilitate a person to begin their own healing journey and have the tools to be in control of their health. Another big learning has been how to break strategies into manageable and achievable chunks instead of overwhelming clients with enormous amounts of information that they can’t digest.

5. What is one thing you’ve learnt in your studies that surprises / interests you?

What has really interested and definitely surprised me throughout my studies, is how much research is available to us right now. We aren’t guessing whether a certain nutrient or herb will be therapeutic in different conditions, our clinical decisions are guided by research. There is an enormous amount of research that grows every single day on how nutrition and herbal medicine can support acute and chronic illnesses and improve health.

6. What are your plans for when you graduate?

I am planning to take the next three months to really rejuvenate and support my nervous system after studying full-time. I will be spending time with my family, travelling and trying to go with the flow! In the second quarter of next year, I will dedicate myself to building an online business where I can practice naturopathy to support people with their health. I have been slowly working on it behind the scenes in my final year of college but now I will have the time to finalise everything. I also plan to begin a master’s degree in the next few years but I haven’t decided which course yet.

7. How do you think people will benefit from your chosen natural medicine therapy?

People need guidance on how to support their health by optimising their diet and lifestyle. We live in a world with so many barriers to health and it is not a surprise that we are facing so many chronic illnesses due to stress, poor nutrition, toxin exposure and sedentary lifestyles. I want to break down the barriers to receiving disease prevention advice as I believe people can really benefit from the nutrition and lifestyle practices that stem from the naturopathic philosophy and are supported by evidence.

8. What is your hope for the future of the natural medicine industry?

My hope for the future of the natural medicine industry is for more recognition of the benefits we can provide for society by improving health and wellbeing. I hope natural medicine can be fully appreciated alongside allopathic medicine and allied health for what it contributes to the prevention of disease, improving quality of life and empowering individuals to be healthier.

9. How will this award influence you in your future endeavours?

This award has confirmed that I am on the right path and have so many people supporting my purpose. It has inspired me to dream big and work towards breaking through the barriers that prevent people from using naturopathy. Most of all it will influence me to believe in myself as an emerging naturopath.

10. What does it mean to you to win this award?

Winning this award has meant so much to me as it has shown me how far I have come. When I enrolled in my course I lacked confidence in myself and let others’ opinions give me doubts about my decision. I have given this course my all and my passion has grown exponentially. It is amazing to be recognised for the contribution I have made to the local Endeavour community and also the Fijian communities through volunteer work. To win this award has assured me I am in a really supportive and inspiring profession that is filled with like-minded and dedicated practitioners.

More about the author

Olivia Croker

Olivia Croker is a fourth-year naturopathy student at Endeavour College of Natural Health. She is committed to becoming a knowledgeable, capable and competent Naturopath, living her mission of providing affordable, accessible and effective health promotion education to individuals and communities.

Olivia is active in her learning and has been a part of the Student Partners program since 2020. This program involves monthly meetings with the Student Life team, escalating student feedback, organising student-led projects and campus events in collaboration with the college, writing newsletters summarising the Student Partner achievements, representing on college councils and committees and contributing to the ongoing development of the Peer-Assisted Study Session (PASS) program as the mentoring leader.