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Never stop, never stopping

With just 18 months between them, it is perhaps fitting that Melina, and her twin sisters Joccoaa and Leonie Palmer all graduated on the same day – albeit with different qualifications.

Joccoaa, Melina and Leonie Palmer

Study

Bachelor of Nursing; New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3) (Carpentry); New Zealand Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage (Level 5).

We are all quite similar. We grew up doing athletics, and wanted to do something active or health related, something that helps. We don’t want to be sitting around a lot, every day has to be different.

Melina graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing, Joccoaa with the New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3) (Carpentry), and Leonie with the New Zealand Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage (Level 5).

Melina’s biggest challenge in third year was balancing her Nursing studies and shift work for her placement with a part time job. Now that she has graduated, she will be starting a job at Christchurch Hospital working in general surgery and will then move into the bone marrow transplant unit.

“I knew I wanted to do something medical related. Before my granddad passed away, he spent a lot of time in ICU. I saw the relationships between the nurses and him, and that inspired me to become a nurse,” says Melina.

Leonie’s study was also a balancing act of a different kind. She spent her first semester catching up on her classwork after a late entry to Massage.

“Then I broke my hand so I couldn’t do practical assessments, and I had to catch up on that too!” exclaims Leonie.

After finding fulltime work in sports massage next year, she intends to apply for Police College.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do… helping out the community and working with people.”

Twin Joccoaa is similarly unafraid of a challenge. After working as a personal trainer, she enrolled in Applied Sciences but made the tough decision to swap to Construction, a male dominated industry. She will continue working in the sector next year, completing her apprenticeship.

“It was always something I liked, helping dad out at home, putting things together, so I thought I’d give it a go and it worked out,” Joccoaa says of her change in direction.

It hasn’t been without its challenges though.

“It is hard working with boys all the time - hunting and fishing is all they talk about!” she says.

“But the class got on really well and the lecturers were supportive of the three girls in the class.”

Despite their busy lifestyles, the sisters have been able to support each other with their course work.

“Leonie studied the same Bioscience paper that I did, so I was able to help her out a bit,” says Melina.

Their parent’s take on the triple graduation?

“It’s a looooong day,” the sisters laugh.

After two ceremonies, photos and the graduation parade, the family convened at home for a quiet BBQ on Friday evening, and followed up with a family lunch on Sunday to celebrate their joint successes.

Student

Joccoaa, Melina and Leonie Palmer

Study

Bachelor of Nursing; New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3) (Carpentry); New Zealand Diploma in Wellness and Relaxation Massage (Level 5).