For Tasmanian north-west coast woman Shannon Macdonald, getting up to hit the books was a world away from stepping onto her dairy farm and getting her hands dirty.
It pushed her, and at times she wondered if she would get there, but lining up in her cap and gown in Burnie, Tas, Mrs Macdonald was ready to graduate with her new Associate Degree in Agribusiness.
She was one of a number of students taking part in the University of Tasmania graduation ceremony on Tuesday, ready to embark on the next chapter.
It wasn't an easy feat, but the reward was pretty sweet, Mrs Macdonald said.
"I nearly quit. I nearly didn't finish this year," she said.
"It's been pretty tough but it was just taking one thing at a time.
"I was able to learn about the farm at the same time as doing my assignments so I got a lot out of it."
Her first experience studying since finishing school, Mrs Macdonald juggled the degree with working on the two dairy farms she runs with her husband at Yolla, a COVID-19 lockdown, looking after her son and home-learning.
However, despite the challenges, she thrived - graduating with a GPA of 6.8 and earning the Blundstone Scholarship in Agribusiness in 2019 and 2021, as well as the Sons Bursary in Agricultural Science in 2019.
She said she wanted her efforts to show that it's never too late to pursue your interests, with her course already giving her insights she can take onto her farms.
"I decided it was time for me to learn more about my industry rather than just sitting at home being a farm wife," Mrs Macdonald said.
"I think it's even easier as a mature-age student because you know what you want, and you want to study, so you probably learn much faster.
"It's not too late."
Graduating alongside Mrs Macdonald was her sister Angela Hancock, who was there to accept her third degree.
Having studied human movement and paramedicine previously, Ms Hancock is now ready to take on teaching maths and science.
She echoed the sentiments of her sister.
"You don't have to be stuck in the one thing forever," she said.
"You can be whoever you want to be, you can do whatever you want to do."
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