Celebrating graduate Chrissy Tirris

Celebrating graduate Chrissy Tirris

After navigating challenges and embracing opportunities as a student, Chrissy is excited to create a culturally safe space for her community to heal mentally and physically.

For Chrissy, RMIT was the only choice when it came to pursuing her dream degree in Chinese Medicine.

The university's commitment to offering diverse and specialized programs allowed her to delve into a field that aligned with her passion.

Life as a single mother added an extra layer of complexity to Chrissy's academic journey. Juggling family commitments with a demanding study load left little time for extracurricular activities.

Despite this, she forged connections with peers in her course, finding support and camaraderie amid the academic challenges.

“Studying during the covid lockdown was huge challenge,” she said.

“Being a single mum and homeschooling my four young kids throughout lockdown while attending classes and doing exams was intense.” 

For Chrissy, adapting to online learning was a daunting task, compounded by her lack of tech-savviness.

“My background was performing arts, so doing a double Science degree with every concept being so new to me was really daunting and the simplest tasks for some, took me hours,” she said.  

Her ability to persevere through these challenging times reflects her dedication to her education and the well-being of her family.

Close up photograph of Chrissy. Chrissy forged connections with peers in her course, finding support and camaraderie amid the academic challenges.

International Exposure: A Medical Internship in Nanjing

One of the highlights of Chrissy's academic journey was her medical internship in Nanjing, China. The experience at the Nanjing Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provided a deep cultural immersion and exposure to the integration of Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western practices.

“It was a huge culture shock. China was so much fun, busy, beautiful and the people so friendly.

Often things were lost in translation in everyday life and at the hospital, a lot of patience was needed,” she explained.  

We saw up to 50 patients in the consult room in the morning and similar in the afternoon. This was invaluable as I was able to see TCM integrated with Western medicine in a variety of conditions. While there I also attended lectures by world renowned experts in the fields of gynaecology, gastroenterology, and paediatrics. 

With graduation on the horizon, Chrissy looks forward to completing administrative requirements for professional registration. Her commitment to lifelong learning is evident as she plans to pursue further studies in specific areas like paediatrics and gynaecology.

Selected photographs from Chrissy's internship in China. One of the highlights of Chrissy's academic journey was her medical internship in Nanjing, China.

“I'm taking a month of rest to acknowledge the half decade I've spent studying.

Ultimately, I'm aiming to start my own clinic that can be a culturally safe space for my community to heal mentally and physically.

I'm passionate about accessible health care so I'll also be working towards offering affordable community clinic days within my practice,” she said.  

Chrissy's journey is a testament to the transformative power of perseverance and seeking support.

Her advice to future graduates resonates with the spirit of exploration and collaboration. Embracing unknown paths, seeking mentors, and fostering collaboration with peers are essential ingredients for finding one's place in the world.

“I believe we are capable of so much if we just get out of our own way. I had no experience in science and took the degree week by week at times.

There are a lot of support services at university if you just ask, so open doors and see where they lead.

For future graduates, don't be afraid to collaborate with your peers, to seek out mentors and be open to walking down unknown paths to find your place in the world. 

04 December 2023


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.