RYAN Jones was never one to bury his head in books and study for long hours during his school years.
The 27-year-old was even contemplating ending his education early when he was 16.
Yet in the space of a decade the Maryville resident has changed his tune and will celebrate graduating with first class honours in a bachelor of environmental science and management today.
Mr Jones said there was ‘‘not a chance’’ he ever thought he would ever go to university.
‘‘Even my very close friends thought it sounded quite funny when I enrolled,’’ he said.
‘‘But here I am. I want to do something that gets me up in the morning and uni is the only thing in my adult life that has done that.’’
Mr Jones worked for about five years as a horticulturist, starting an apprenticeship at the Hunter Valley Gardens.
Through TAFE he started developing a thirst for knowledge.
‘‘I really like this idea of creating new knowledge and uni made me reflect on my life and place in the world,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m interested in knowledge and using knowledge to shape policy. I guess I want to work on how we can make cities more sustainable.’’
Mr Jones is currently doing his PhD in human geography and wants to become a teacher or work for government.