International netballer Shannon Francois is "ready for what
the future holds" after today's University of Otago
graduation. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Over the years Silver Ferns netball squad member Shannon
Francois has got used to sitting her University of Otago
pharmacy examinations in some fairly unusual places.
Miss Francois (22), from Motueka, who is also a mid-court
player for the Southern Steel netball team, will graduate
from the university today with a four-year bachelor of
This will bring to an end a great deal of hard work juggling
her university studies and the demands of her career as a
busy domestic netballer, including playing for Otago, and as
an emerging international player of the future.
"It was really hard. I probably didn't have much life other
than netball and my studies."
"I'm quite excited and quite proud that I've finished it [the
In October, she sat two of her final year pharmacy
examinations in Adelaide and Sydney in a hotel room and
supervised by the Silver Ferns manager. She was in Australia
with the Silver Ferns squad playing three tests against the
Australian Netball Diamonds.
She took such unusual examination venues in her stride.
"It was quite nice. It's cool. It's probably not quite so
stressful as when you're in some exam room with all your
"I was also quite nervous. I didn't study as much as I would
She developed good time management, striving for "that right
balance" between always being "switched on" for netball but
also well focused on her studies.
Next year, she will complete her pharmacy qualifications by
undertaking a year-long internship at a pharmacy in Gore. She
is keen to keep working hard, not only in her pharmacy career
but also to move off the bench and gain regular court time
with the Silver Ferns.
She had a taste of the netball big time when she played in
the New Zealand FastNet team in the FastNet world series - a
bit like netball's equivalent of cricket's Twenty20 - in
Liverpool, England, last year.
It had been "pretty amazing" to be on the court for the first
time with leading players such as Irene van Dyke during that
Today will also be special: celebrating graduation with
family and friends.
And she is grateful her student friends were always "so
willing to help".