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Student blog: Hannah says scholarships were vital in her making it to uni

By September 30, 2019 No Comments

From my early high school years, I was set on the idea of attending university and studying something I loved and would do for the rest of my life. Neither of my parents had attended university but had encouraged me to do so if it was something I was passionate about. I have grown up with several amazing, strong woman who have all worked in health and was eager to follow in their footsteps and make a difference in my community.

I became more certain about choosing tertiary study as my senior high school years rolled around. Anxiety about moving away from home in Broken Hill for the first time grew, with mounting uncertainty of how I would make my goal a reality.

When I started applying for university, I tossed up between a lot of different campuses in a lot of different places. I was hoping to study radiography and wanted to make sure I could find a university that was highly regarded in that area of study, yet also accessible to my outback hometown and financially achievable for my family and me.

With the closest university being six hours away, I knew that no matter where I chose to study, I was going to be far away from home and living in a much bigger community than I was used to. A lot of people from school were choosing to study in Adelaide as it was closest institution to home. Many people my age left school early to take on an apprenticeship or job offer on the mines and there were even more who were people my age choosing to stay in Broken Hill to work. Still, I had my heart set on studying a Bachelor of Medical (Radiation Science) at Charles Sturt University at the Wagga Wagga campus. I filled out my application and crossed my fingers.

Wagga is a massive nine-hour drive from my far west home. The thought of living so far away from home on my own and knowing that all of my friends and family would be on the opposite side of the state was incredibly daunting. I knew that university life, especially living on campus, would be a huge change in lifestyle for me. I have only ever lived at home with my parents and have a very tight knit family dynamic. Having a younger sibling with autism, routine is a very big part of our lives and I was fully aware that university would life would stray far from the routine I was used to. This change, combined with having to move such a distance, would leave a significant dent in mine and my parents bank account. I began picking up more shifts at the local IGA and started applying for as many scholarships as I was eligible for. Scholarships offered in Broken Hill can be hard to come across if you don’t know where to look. It can all be intimidating to apply for at first. My introduction came from mum tagging me in a Facebook post about several scholarships offered by the Country Education Foundation of Australia, and simply told me ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’. So I bit the bullet and applied.

The news that I was accepted into the course at Wagga came in early November 2018 and I was absolutely thrilled. Less than two months later I received a call that I was successful in receiving a $21,000 scholarship from the CEF and was honestly dumbfounded. Immediately I felt such a sense of relief, knowing that I could walk into my first year of university with a plan of how to handle the massive expenses that come with the opportunity of studying a medical degree. Without such a generous scholarship, going to university and moving so far away from home would have been incredibly difficult for me to have achieved without having to rely solely on the support of my amazing parents and family.

 

More from Hannah about applying for scholarships

Coming from an outback area, I know that a lot of people feel as though university or further study is too far out of reach or difficult to achieve. Despite how determined I was, I still felt as though accomplishing my goal would be much harder considering how far away I was from my dream geographically and the overwhelming costs that university would present. I feel that regional students are almost left on the back burner when it comes to accessing tertiary study purely because of how isolated we are. From the get go, regional students statistically score lower than those who study in urban schools. When it comes to university study, almost 45% of people aged 25-34 who live in major cities have a bachelor degree, while the proportion for those people living in regional areas is roughly 20% (ABS (2017) Education and Work, May 2017.  Highest non-school qualification). Statistics like these can be pretty discouraging. My advice to someone finishing school and considering further study echoes my Mums’ advice to me: just go for it!

There’s no denying that coming from a remote area has its obstacles. Support is available. Students don’t be afraid about having ambition. Talk to your year advisor or any older students you know who are studying. Ask around in your community about available scholarships or grants. Whether you need financial support or accommodation assistance or just a bit of guidance as to how to approach further study after high school, there is help out there. I believe that accessing assistance can be really difficult for young school leavers and there needs to be more resources devoted to the awareness services available. If my mum hadn’t tagged me in that single Facebook post, my first year out of high school could have been a drastically different experience. If you are willing to reach out, just do it and ask for help.

I have honestly adored my first year of university. CEF support gave me the freedom to get involved in so much more than I initially thought possible. For that I am so incredibly grateful and urge students to believe in themselves. To deem themselves worthy of an education and the opportunities other people get. There are amazing scholarships and support networks out there. If you’ve got the passion, give it a crack.

From my early high school years, I was set on the idea of going to university and studying something I loved and would do for the rest of my life. As my senior high school years rolled around and I became more certain about choosing tertiary study, the anxiety of moving away from home for the first time and the uncertainty of how I would make my goal a reality also set in.

I have lived in the outback city of Broken Hill my whole life. When I started applying for university, I tossed up between a lot of different campuses in a lot of different places. With the closest university being six hours away, I knew that no matter where I chose I was going to be far away from home and would be living in a much bigger community than I was used to. I knew a lot of people from school who were choosing to study in Adelaide because it’s the closest to metropolitan centre. Even more friends chose to stay in Broken Hill to work. I had my heart set on studying a Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science at Charles Sturt University’s Wagga Wagga campus, so I filled out my application and crossed my fingers.

Wagga is a massive nine-hour drive from my far west home. The thought of living so far away from home on my own was incredibly daunting. I knew that university life, especially living on campus, would be a huge change in lifestyle for me. This change, combined with having to move such a distance, would leave a significant dent in mine and my parents’ bank account. Determined, I began picking up more shifts at the local IGA and started applying for as many scholarships as I was eligible for. There are some amazing local scholarships offered in Broken Hill but they can be hard to come across if you don’t know where to look and intimidating to apply for at first. My Mum tagged me in a Facebook post about scholarships being offered by the Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF), simply telling me ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’. I bit the bullet and applied.

The news that I was accepted into the course at Wagga came in early November 2018 and I was absolutely thrilled. Less than two months later I received a call to say I was successful in receiving a $21,000 scholarship from CEF and I was honestly dumbfounded. Immediately I felt such a sense of relief, knowing that I could walk into my first year of university with a plan of how to handle the massive expenses set to come with the opportunity of a medical degree. Without such a generous scholarship, going to university and moving so far away from home would have been incredibly difficult for me to have achieved without having to rely solely on the support of my amazing parents and family.

Hannah Evers received the Andrew and Paula Liveris scholarship. The same amount of support is available via CEF for Broken Hill students looking to study in 2020 now. Visit the CEF Scholarships page for more information

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