DON'T let fear stop you.
This is the message from Christine McMillan, a third-year Southern Cross University student who has just been awarded the Coffs Ex-Services Achievement Award.
The award, worth $1000, recognises Christine's community involvement through the Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club, where she is a volunteer surf lifesaver and assistant manager for the under-10 team.
Christine, who is in the third year of a Bachelor of Nursing degree, received the award from Mr Paul Box, the director of the Coffs Ex-Services Club, and Professor Zbys Klich, head of Southern Cross University's Coffs Harbour campus and Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic.
"This award is going to be fantastic ? just to help get a few books and pay for some of my study expenses," Christine said.
A single mum with two children, Christine has successfully combined fullt ime study with her surf lifesaving commitments.
"I have always wanted to be a nurse and when it started at Coffs Harbour I applied. I really love it, even though it was difficult in my first year," she said.
"It's been a long journey, but a wonderful journey meeting new friends. I have no family here but tremendous help from friends and neighbours.
"I would say to people 'don't let fear stop you'. You need to make the most of opportunities ? there is always help available."