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Bright attitude, family mantra help Ruby overcome it all

30 July 2021

“My grandfather always told me, ‘Ruby, you can learn something from everyone’, and that is something I remind myself about each and every day.”

With a mantra like this, it’s no wonder UNE alumna Ruby Canning has such a strong dedication to learning from practical experience and the knowledge of others.


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"Mental health and your overall well-being is one of the most important things in life."

Ruby has just finished her final trimester of a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Marketing. It’s a journey that hasn’t been easy, but – through her passion for the beef industry and astounding ability to overcome challenges – she’s over the finish line.

“I started at Lincoln University in New Zealand where I was fortunate to be a dual scholar, but I had a severe car accident in December 2017 after my first year that resulted in me being unable to fly for quite some time,” she says. “I fractured my spine and had severe nerve damage.”

Although devastated she wouldn’t be able to complete her degree overseas as planned, she made the decision to transfer to UNE. “I was fortunate to have wonderful friends at UNE already, and that helped immensely whilst being far from home.”

Ruby, from a beef cattle property in rural Victoria, has always been interested in live export and international relations in the industry. Her family has been involved with the export of Simmental cattle for many years to China for breeding, and she’s worked in an export quarantine facility. “This has sparked my interest for a career within that field of the beef industry.”

Despite the immense challenge Ruby faced in her first year, she overcame, and her studies flourished on-campus in Armidale. Then, at the height of the pandemic, she returned to the family farm and had to adjust to the new normal of studying from home. She found the shift to online learning and exams difficult and missed face-to-face lectures and tutorials. She was also juggling a couple of casual jobs, helping to home-school her younger brother, and volunteering with a number of agricultural committees.

On the other hand, there were silver linings - Ruby says she enjoyed the flexibility of being able to spend more time with her family and their livestock. Studying from home also allowed her to devote time to her other passions, such as her rural photography business, Mavstar Photography.

“When I am asked how I managed the juggle, it’s simply a balance, and it’s truly important to remain happy.

"I remember when I was in hospital, and rehab, I had to keep positive and focus on brighter things in the future. And that’s what I'm still doing: remaining positive, and still loving what I am doing.”

But her journey doesn’t end there. Ruby has returned to Armidale and continues to build her photography business while enjoying country life – including judging the Beef Paraders at Armidale Show recently, and winning Champion Beef Judge at Canberra Royal Show.



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