There will be double the excitement for the Baron family this week with 25-year-old identical twins, Zivanko and Zivago, to graduate from the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) together.
Born just one minute apart, the twins may look and sound the same, but are worlds apart when it comes to career choices.
Zivago is graduating with a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science (Honours), while Zivanko has entered the teaching ranks after completing a Bachelor of Education (Secondary).
The Redbank Plains twins, who are of Philippine and Romanian descent, will join more than 300 graduands to don caps and gowns at graduation ceremonies over the next two days (September 29 and 30) at the Ipswich Civic Centre.
Older brother Zivanko has had to wait longer than most to cross the stage and celebrate his graduation having finished his degree two years ago.
The University has not held a graduation ceremony in Ipswich since September 2019, but Zivanko said the chance to share the moment with his brother has made the wait worth it.
“I initially wasn’t going to attend a catch-up ceremony, but once I found out my brother was going I thought what could be more special than getting to graduate alongside your brother?” he said.
“It’s both been a long journey for both of us, but this ceremony means I can be proud of not only what I have achieved during university, but proud of what my brother has accomplished as well.”
Zivanko and Zivago’s journeys to graduation day were eerily similar.
After finishing Year 12, the Redbank Plains State High School graduates pursued tertiary studies at a different university than USQ.
Zivanko enrolled in engineering and Zivago studied Creative Arts.
However, they both struggled to adjust to a large university environment and didn’t enjoy their subjects.
Instead of abandoning their tertiary goals, they changed universities and programs.
Zivanko was the first to make the switch to the University of Southern Queensland. His interest in maths and science inspired him to consider a career in teaching so he could share his passion with young minds.
A year later, Zivago joined his brother at the University to study sport and exercise.
“What I enjoyed most about USQ was the small class sizes and the connection I was able to make with my lecturers and other students,” Zivago said.
“Over my time at uni, I made a lot of friends and despite COVID disrupting on-campus classes, we remained really close and stuck together.
“I could not have asked for any better lecturers than what I had.
“They were all very supportive. They really cared about how you were doing and wanted to see you succeed.
“In particular, my course coordinator (Associate Professor Lainie Cameron) who went above and beyond to ensure I wouldn’t be left on my own, whether it was checking in to see how my studies were going to searching for jobs and other opportunities there were for us students.”
After completing his degree in July, Zivago quickly landed a job as a community exercise physiologist at Gen Physio, where he works with clients living with disability and mental health issues.
While Zivago’s career is just starting, Zivanko has spent the past two years teaching at Marsden State High School.
“I’m really enjoying it and couldn’t be happier with how it’s all worked out,” he said.
“Teaching is such a rewarding career where you can make an actual difference in young people’s lives.
“There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing one of your students have that light bulb moment and suddenly figure out something they have struggled to understand.”
Learn more about USQ Graduations.
What: Ipswich Spring Graduation Ceremonies (all disciplines)
When: Wednesday 29 September 2021 - 9.30am, 1.30pm and 5.30pm
Thursday 30 September 2021 - 9.30am, 1.30pm and 5.30pm
Where: Ipswich Civic Centre, Cnr Limestone and Nicholas Streets, Ipswich
Twin brothers Zivanko and Zivago will celebrate completing their degrees at USQ’s graduation ceremony tomorrow.