The commitment, motivation and strength showed by University of Wollongong Bega campus students Hana Matsuoka-Renton and Lauren Spindler has finally paid off.
The 25-year-olds both graduated with a Master of Teaching (Primary) along with 21 other students on Thursday.
"I had really fantastic teachers growing up and I thought I was lucky to be taught under them and I wanted to give that to kids," Ms Matsuoka-Renton said.
The Bermagui resident has been accepted into a Year 3 position at the Sapphire Coast Anglican College, while Bega's Ms Spindler said she is waiting to hear back about a couple of possibilities of employment.
"I wanted something a little bit more and I thought teaching was more suited to my skills and passion and I could see the value in it," she said about why she chose to study her masters degree, which she achieved a distinction in.
Another Bega resident graduating on the day was Megan Irvin, who had completed a Bachelor of Nursing with Distinction.
The 31-year-old said she had always wanted to study nursing, ever since she was young.
"I work in disability as well, so it's a rational progression for me," she said.
She found UOW Bega to have a "fantastic, really supportive environment" and was "just like spending time with the family".
Ms Irvin is now planning to move to Canberra as she has been accepted into a graduate position at the hospital in Woden.
Another student who could not stop smiling on the day was Lorna Findlay of Bombala, who graduated with a Distinction in her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Modern History.
"Most of which I've lived through!" she laughed.
While she has studied at university earlier in her life, she decided to enroll again after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011.
This was because after three months in hospital in Canberra she found herself wondering what to do next.
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"Somehow or other I managed to get myself to uni - I have no memory of doing that," she said.
"It's taken six-and-a-half years and I can't believe it but I've finished.
"I couldn't have done it anywhere else - I could only do it here [at Bega UOW] because of the input of staff; it's just like a family."
Ms Findlay now has plans to go on and do her honours, then possibly her doctorate.
"I want to get one of those bonnets that they wear," she said with a smile.
She said while she also faced cancer again after that initial 2011 diagnosis, she is now in remission.