By Taylor Heslington
I remember the exact moment I found out I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship from AVCAT. I was leaving a lecture in first year, feeling overwhelmed about the five years of study ahead of me, when I checked my voicemail to discover that I was a recipient of the 2016 AVCAT Commemorative Bursary. Immediately it felt like a giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Moving interstate for university was always going to be financially challenging, and realising that I would not have to worry about how to pay for my textbooks or groceries made the next five years seem a lot more manageable.
I’m still so amazed and grateful to have received an AVCAT scholarship, which to me is an important recognition of my Pa’s service in Vietnam. He was so proud that his service helped me reach my dreams of attending university. Pa passed away last year and AVCAT’s recognition of his contribution as a Vietnam Veteran has become even more important to me since then.
With the support of AVCAT and its sponsors, I have become the first person in my family to pursue tertiary studies. I’m now in my fourth year of a Bachelor of Law (Honours)/International Security Studies at the Australian National University, and I’m loving every minute of it.
The AVCAT Scholarship has allowed me to have a university experience free of financial pressure, and enabled me to engage in opportunities that would not have been open to me without this help. I’ve participate in extracurricular law competitions, run a student committee, and become a student leader at my residence. Opportunities like these are helping me figure out my future aspirations. In 2018 I was lucky enough to work as a paralegal for the ANU Legal Office, an experience vital in clarifying my career goals.
Looking back to my first year I know that my university experience would have been completely different, and a lot more difficult without the support of AVCAT. Having financial support has given me the freedom to study and participate in the ANU community. I will forever be thankful to AVCAT’s sponsors for giving me this opportunity. When I finish my degree next year I’m hoping to use my qualifications to give back to the community I live in.
Taylor was awarded an AVACT Commemorative Bursary in 2016, she will complete her studies at ANU in 2020.
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