Aiyahna Browning – AVCAT Scholar

The AVCAT scholarship program provides both reassurance and encouragement, in addition to relieving some of the financial pressure of living so far away from home.

By Aiyahna Browning

Len Russell – CEO AVCAT, Aiyahan Browning

‘Believing’ is a verb. It’s a doing kind of thing – it means to ‘accept something as truth without proof’ or to ‘hold something as an opinion’.

I grew up in a small rural town in Central-Western Queensland. At 17, I relocated to Brisbane (over 1200kms from my hometown) to attend university, swapping wide open spaces and star-studded skies, and leaving behind family, friends and the security of the familiar, for a tiny university dorm room in a bustling city.

Though invigorating, attending university has been logistically challenging and emotionally taxing. My mind is thriving on learning as I pursue my curiosity through studying the relationship between the brain and behaviour and developing connections with new peers. Yet my homesickness is sometimes overwhelming as my soul often yearns for the comfort of home.

Despite growing up in remote and rural Queensland, and developing a chronic auto-immune disease in my early teens, I have not only had the privilege of being raised to believe that I can pursue my dreams and work towards progressing those goals into reality but I have also been encouraged to do so by those who believe in me.

My studies continuously remind me that as social beings, humans are influenced by the people around us and that, in turn, we also influence them. It is humbling to be connected to the ideals of an extraordinary group of people – like my father (ex-RAAF) and uncle (currently in his 4th decade of RAAF service) –  who serve(d) our country with dignity, integrity, and passion, who exemplify courage under extreme pressure and who push intrinsic boundaries of what is possible. It is a privilege to be recognised and supported under the blanket of these ideals through the support of RSL Queensland and AVCAT, and for those philosophies to be interwoven into my own progression and development. 

The value of knowing that someone else believes in you, and that belief is shared and channelled through supportive communities and encouraging relationships that encompass and express shared and aligned values, challenges become opportunities for growth and reinforce the power of belief itself. The AVCAT scholarship program provides both reassurance and encouragement, in addition to relieving some of the financial pressure of living so far away from home.

Thank you so much for believing in me – even without proof and for trusting me to uphold your ideals. Never underestimate the power of belief and believing.

Aiyahna was awarded the RSL Queensland Scholarship in 2022.

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